Finding Time to Unwind: The Importance of Downtime

Long before I had kids, I remember proclaiming, “I need a vacation.” What I meant then, was, I wanted a vacation. Perhaps I needed a break from the routine, but I had so much free time compared to now that a vacation wasn’t exactly the necessity it has become. It doesn’t have to be expensive, long or far away, but I need time to just be. There is a constant running list in my head of all the things I need to do: the dishes, the laundry, the doctors appointments, deadlines, etc. While I don’t always feel stressed or overwhelmed, I always think about these things. When there are too many things left undone at the end of the day or week, the list gets longer and I get stressed. Without taking active steps to get away from my house and my regular day-to-day activities, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the to do’s. Initially, my husband could not understand why I was unable to just “not think about all that stuff”. Maybe it’s just me, but somehow I doubt it.

toddler using puddle jumperWe were given the opportunity to visit Jellystone earlier in the summer, but an unexpected trip to the Emergency Room changed that. Thankfully, we were able to reschedule for another weekend. It was so much fun and so necessary. We only spent two days at Jellystone, and it rained some of the time, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was my ever running list stopped for a little while. I could sit back and enjoy my family, enjoy nature, without worrying about all the things we have to do. All my focus was on swimming with the kids, watching them play mini-golf and finding a dry area to build a campfire. For the entire weekend, nothing else was on my mind. I could fully be in the moment in a way I hardly ever can at home.

Because of how helpful that trip was, I have tried to take more mini-vacations this summer, like day trips to Fountainbleu State Park, or simply spending the day at a local park with my family and without my iPhone. I don’t have a budget to take several vacations (or even mini-ones) a year, so I have to get creative. But truly, it’s the packing up and going away from it all that helps the most.

In our fast paced world, unplugging, unwinding and getting away from the day to day grind is so refreshing, and so necessary; we all need to remember to take some time “off,” from our grocery list, ever increasing laundry piles, dishes, Facebook, and give ourselves a non-distracted break. Whether you work at home, the office, both, or your home is your office, take some time, especially just before school starts, leave everything alone and just BE. I know I am a better wife and better mom when I get regular downtime.  When I came across the quote below, I immediately realized how true it is for my life. How about yours?

peaceful quote

What are some things you do for downtime?

 

 

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