Welcome back. I hope you had a wonderful break. After a year like 2020, we all needed it!
Before the holidays we talked about the importance of downtime — and how to disconnect from devices and relax. We also talked about the things we discovered during COVID such as what’s important and what’s not.
Now that you’ve had a break, don’t be surprised if you become more aware of yourself and your thoughts. You might find you’re full of great ideas. Solutions to things which have been worrying you might easily pop into your mind.
Have you ever noticed that your best ideas might come to you in the shower or when you go for a walk? That’s because science has shown that your best ideas come after you give your mind some clear space to rest.
An article in Scientific American says, “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.”
Neuroscience shows that our brains are at their busiest when we rest or sleep. Does that surprise you? Think about the dreams you have. Or those days you wake up knowing exactly how to handle a situation you’ve been worrying about. It’s all thanks to your busy brain.
Why am I talking about this now?
You’re about to go back to work. For many, that means long days, too much work, and 24-7 connection to the world through your device. This is exhausting and overtaxing for the brain. You might think that so much concentration on work will help you focus but it does the opposite. It kills your creativity and limits your potential.
It’s time to ask you this question…
How will you allow yourself time this year to give your brain space to think?
It’s important to build this quiet time into your day because if you don’t plan for it, work and life will suck up all your time. Marianna Klatt, of The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, suggests drawing two pie charts. One will show how you plan to allocate the 24 hours of the day. The other will show how you actually used the time. She has found that while the plan may include time away from work, we usually fill it with other activities. It’s not ‘free time’ in the true meaning of the phrase.
If you were to draw a pie chart of your 24-hour day, where could you allocate some free time? While your body and your brain need sleep, it’s not the only way to rest your brain. Meditation, listening to music, going for a walk, lazing in the bath, taking a nap…
Gift yourself 15 minutes of peace before the family wakes, or the opportunity to sit in a garden during your lunch break…without your phone! You don’t need to allocate hours to it, but you do need to find some downtime every day.
Where will you find yours?
If you have a clever way of gifting yourself some brain space, please tell us about it in the comments below. Your idea might be exactly what someone is looking for.