You already know that down time is valuable. Taking care of yourself by making relaxation a priority can actually make you more productive and help prevent burnout . But should we set standards for our down time? Is, for example, a soak in the tub more restorative than a Netflix binge session?
Full disclosure: I love Netflix. And Hulu.
I have been known to watching 10 years worth of TV in 10 days. I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with letting yourself check out from time to time.
But I also don’t think it’s the best way to recharge.
What’s the difference between recharging and checking out?
In my mind, recharging gives you the energy you need to keep living your best life. It ramps up your creative juices, clarifies your core values, and restores your willpower.
Checking out is taking a break from that best life.
I tend to check out when I haven’t been doing the necessary recharging. I overload the system to the point that I need to stop taking care of anything for a while - even myself. Checking out is entirely necessary sometimes.
The problem with checking out is:
For example, I’ve already admitted that my go-to checkout is to retreat to my bed with my iPad and Internet TV subscription. That’s easy for me.
What’s not as easy is to get my butt out of the house and go for a walk, but that’s what recharges me. A stint outside in the middle of the work day revives my brain and gives me a boost for the afternoon. If, however, I use my lunch hour to catch up on prime-time drama, I’m more likely to slump through the rest of my day.
The same principle applies to evening relaxation. So many of us flip on the TV or pour a glass of wine to fend off stress at the end of the work day. If, instead, you took a few minutes to meditate or do some deep breathing - activities more likely to relax and recharge - you’d likely get a second wind that let you enjoy game night with the kids or after-work hobbies.
Are you intentional about how you relax? Do you use techniques that restore you, or are you stuck in a checking out rut?