Downtime

Struggling to relax is something I know quite a lot about. Why? I find it difficult to switch off, considering the amount of work and responsibility I have. But I’m learning how to adapt and cope with balancing work with down time.

What I’ve learnt is that I do know how to relax, I just struggle relaxing and not doing anything to keep my mind occupied. So I tend to read or watch a film to keep my mind occupied so I don’t begin to think about work and continuously checking my emails. These two things help me zone out but focus at the same time, figuring out what I’ll witness next or read next when I turn the page.

I’m sure many creatives in the past and now are coping with a similar experience, when your support passionate about your work. It’s difficult trying to cope with it and learning how to overcome it without any direction. As we will only know the answers to what relaxes us but when our minds are so occupied with our work it’s difficult to find the answers.

Strange, right? Well here’s what I’ve learnt and I’d like to share it with you. If you’re like me who struggles to relax or do nothing — then try this:

Distract Yourself

Find something to do other than your work. Clear out some old clothes, tidy up a room in the house. Do some washing or cleaning. Go for a walk. Go help a loved one run some errands. Do some errands yourself.

What’s the benefit you might ask? Your mind needs time to discover and do new refreshing and exciting things. I can imagine your thinking from the stuff I listed above, they’re not very exciting but they’re just examples. You need to take some time away from your work so you maintain the momentum, the excitement, the thrill, passion and love you have for what you do.

Otherwise you’ll burn yourself out and begin to hate what you really and truly love. You’ve just been overdosing yourself with it. Say you love Coca Cola right? You drink two cans a day or something. Now imagine you’ve drunk 10 cans, you’d hate it after 5 or 6 right? Same with your work.

Give yourself a break. Distract yourself.

Find Excitement, Passion or Love Elsewhere

I know our work has excitement, passion and love but these three aspects do exist in other interests. For me, it’s playing football. Whereas watching football is not always easy for me, considering I’m an Arsenal supporter. But playing football allows me to focus on the game alone.

Nothing else matters but playing football until I’m finished. My mind gets excited and embraces it because it knows I love it very much. I’m able to relief stress or frustration by putting my effort into my performance. That way when I’m done, my mind is refreshed and ready to take on something else exciting — whether it be work or something else.

I’m sure there are many sports or other types of activities that we all love indulging into. We should always find time to do it. It will feel good after you’ve done it. Whether it’s playing Golf, Fishing etc. Whatever it is that excites or relaxes you, do it more often. Make time for it.

Never feel guilty spending time with family

Never feel guilty. I used to feel it to some degree and having a girlfriend who works in Fashion we both discovered it ourselves. Even though we have so much to work towards, it’s crucial we spend a lot of time together and enjoy it, aside from our work.

As everyone wants to create memories with their loved ones but you won’t be able to do that if you restrict yourself from spending time with your family. Always make time for them. Even if it’s helping a relative do an errands or move some furniture. It’s time spent with them away from your work and it does feel good.

If you don’t have the best relationship with your family, then spend more time with your friends who you consider family. Those who will always be around to support you and be at your side when you need someone to get away with, have some fun or do something crazy.

Embrace family time. I’ve always said that family time should never be rescheduled but work can be.

Apply these three aspects to your life and see how much of a difference it can make to your downtime.

Dlivingston@austieng.com | @Domlivingston | @Austieng