Downtime is Key to a Healthy, Happy Life

Giving yourself regular downtime or “me time” is no longer seen as a luxury.

Recent scientific studies have shown that proactively pursuing calm through time spent in nature or doing things you enjoy can lower your stress levels and lift your mood.

Cornell University researchers have found, for instance, that you don’t need a whole day out by the beach or in a forest to harness the healing effects of nature.

Prioritizing Downtime for Self Improvement

Prioritizing Downtime for Self ImprovementIn fact, after just a few minutes, your stress hormone (cortisol) levels begin to drop dramatically.

Are you having chronically high cortisol levels linked to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity?

Investing 10 minutes in a little me time is a pillar of staying healthy and having a good quality of life.

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#1. Doing What You Love

Doctors often recommend exercise and a healthy diet as a good way to battle stress. These are undoubtedly two staples of good health. However, when choosing your hobbies, it is important to go with activities that fulfill you.

You need to feel motivated to set aside the downtime you regularly need to feel reinvigorated. Your favorite hobby might be cooking, sewing, or reading.

In your mind’s eye, nothing may seem more exciting than reading poetry by Walt Whitman or devouring a couple of Nelson Demille action novels by the sea or in your favorite park.

Make it happen, penciling time into your schedule so that your “best-laid plans” actually come to fruition.

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#2. Healing Your Body from Within

If you have a high-stress job, or you are struggling to find the right balance between work, social, and family demands, then using some of your downtime for holistic healing methods is a fruitful personal investment.

Numerous studies have shown that yoga and mindfulness meditation, in particular, are major stress busters.

Yoga, in particular, has many additional benefits, including quelling chronic back pain and migraines, improving seniors’ mobility, and enhancing focus and brain function.

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#3. Connecting With Others

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that “me time” has to be spent alone.

As found in a 2021 study published in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology across the globe, prioritizing friendship is linked to various health and well-being benefits.

Just a few of these include support and companionship, reduced feelings of loneliness, greater self-esteem and life satisfaction, and an enhanced sense of purpose and control over one’s life.

Friendships predict health to an equivalent degree to life partner relationships and parent-child relationships.

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Ways to Make Your Downtime More Effective

Downtime can be an opportunity to rest, recharge and rejuvenate. Still, it can also be an opportunity to be productive and engage in activities that can help you grow personally and professionally.

Here are some ways to make your downtime more effective:

#1. Set Goals

Decide what you want to accomplish during your downtime, and set achievable goals. These could be personal or professional goals, such as reading a book, learning a new skill, or completing a project.

#2. Learn Something New

Use your downtime to learn something new, whether it’s a new language, skill, or hobby. Many online resources can help you learn new things, from YouTube videos to online courses.

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#3. Practice Self-Care

Take care of yourself during your downtime through exercise, meditation, or simply taking a relaxing bath. Taking care of your physical and mental health can help you be more productive when you’re back to work.

#4. Connect with Others

Spend time with friends and family, or connect with others who share your interests. This can help you build your network and develop new relationships.

#5. Plan Ahead

Use your downtime to plan for the future, whether planning your next vacation, setting goals for the upcoming year, or creating a budget. Planning can help you feel more organized and in control.

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#6. Reflect and Evaluate

Use your downtime to reflect on your accomplishments and evaluate your progress. This can help you identify areas for improvement and set new goals for the future.

#7. Engage in Creative Activities

Engage in creative activities that can help you develop your skills and express your creativity. This can include writing, drawing, or playing music.

#8. Disconnect

Finally, use your downtime to disconnect from technology and social media. This can help you reduce stress and improve your mental health.

The downtime can be used effectively to engage in activities that can help you grow personally and professionally.

One can set goals, learn new things, practice self-care, connect with others, plan, reflect, evaluate, engage in creative activities, and disconnect from technology and social media.

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Taking care of physical and mental health, reflecting on accomplishments, and disconnecting from technology and social media can help reduce stress and improve productivity.

The study also showed that placing a high value on friendship is particularly important for health and well-being in areas where income inequality was higher.

Downtime is a crucial time investment in a time in which stress is triggering a plethora of health conditions.

It can involve practicing your favorite hobby, exercising, and taking the time to prepare yourself a healthy meal.

It can also include investing time in friendships, which are a valuable source of support, love, and companionship, especially during challenging times in life.