It’s pretty mainstream knowledge that some of the main components to optimal wellness are exercise, meditation, rest and great nutrition. Did you know there is another HGUE aspect that many of us are leaving out on a daily basis?
Doing nothing. That is it. So simple - do absolutely nothing. Downtime. This does not mean watching The Bachelor, relaxing and listening to a podcast or reading a book. This is time free of screen or audio. Just sit and allow yourself to be with your thoughts.
But, what exactly does this look like? It could be you sitting on your back porch with a cup of tea for 15-30 minutes. Going to your favorite spot at the beach and watching and listening to the waves for a bit. Even gardening, walking through the forest or other tasks that are not demanding of you mentally.
Why is this so important? We are constantly using our brain and not giving it the deserved downtime it needs. Even though we treat it like a machine, it is not.
In basic terms, the brain has two modes: Action-oriented and default mode network (“DMN”). Action-oriented is self explanatory but simplistically speaking is when the brain is busy solving problems, processing data, etc. DMN is where your brain goes when it is not in action-oriented mode.
Research shows that allowing your brain to have time in the DMN every day is great for multiple reasons such as well-being, creativity and idea generation along with memory creation. Have you noticed that your best ideas come to you while in the shower? This is your brain showing you that with a bit of rest these fabulous ideas or resolutions occur.
How do you build this in to your day? Easy… look at your day and first identify those moments that you could let your brain run free, for example while folding laundry, doing dishes, etc. Now, cut out the radio or podcast during those activities and enjoy. Try to add in time in nature every day, also, that you are not scrolling Instagram or speaking on the phone. No multi-tasking allowed!
Downtime is absolutely imperative to overall health and wellness. Don’t discount the benefits you can reap from instilling some of these simple actions into your day. Hustling day and night will potentially lead to burn out, stress and lack of productivity. Making downtime a non-negotiable in your daily life will provide you long and short term benefits.