Ever feel like all you do is work? Do you feel as if you don’t have enough time in your day to even relax? If you said yes to either, or both, of these questions you are not alone. Far too often people come into the office and have no actual leisure activities they are participating in on a regular basis. I far too often hear people say, “I used to do….”. Leisure activities help you to relax, have some down time, and give you much needed “me time”.
Having time to yourself is nothing to feel guilty about. It is necessary to clear your mind and decrease stress. Our brain needs time to decompress and recharge brain cells. If you fail to take this time you will notice that you have issues with focus. You may feel your mind wanting to wander more. You will notice an increase in frustration. This is in part to over stimulation and not giving your brain time to rest from processing the myriad of information we ask it to do for us.
You should be taking at a minimum of 30 minutes a day to just relax and take a breather. At work take your breaks. Go to your car, go to the break room, or go out and go for a little walk around the block. Avoid the urge to pick up your smart phone and see what is going on in everyone’s life. Just decompress for a little while. This will allow your brain some time to recharge and get ready to start processing information again.
When at home take at least 30 minutes to do something you enjoy to decompress as well. Leave the electronics down. Paint, read a book, work out, or take up a new hobby. This is time for you and you alone. I often suggest to my patients to journal. This gets thoughts out on paper and later you can sit and process them. This is a good way to get a nagging thought out of your mind and know that later you will be able to focus on it. This keeps you from forgetting and can give you needed time to be more clear.
In the end people as a whole are not taking the time needed to decompress or do self care. This is a critical component to your mental health and your over all health.
So make it a point to do a leisure activity for yourself to decompress and relax your mind. Make sure you at least participate in this activity at a minimum of 30 minutes per night. Take breaks at work. These little changes could bring big changes to your overall mental health!