How to Make the Most of Your Downtime

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Out of nowhere we have all been thrown headfirst into the deep end and are expected to not only paddle but swim. COVID-19 has paved the way for changes within society that would otherwise have taken months, even years to test, approve and implement into day to day life. While working from home is now the norm for almost all of us, there is no doubt that the change in routine required to support the global population has been and continues to be a difficult transition for many.

What has been amazing throughout the global pandemic so far is the ability we have all shown to remain relentlessly positive even in the darkest times. The support offered between each other, to each other has been extraordinary and it has truly humbled me to see how many people have contributed towards what is now a group effort to sustain a positive way of life.

Right now, however we are choosing to fill our downtime, we owe ourselves a break. A consistent theme documented online has been the struggle people are facing in accepting that being proactive and productive is impossible to keep up 24/7. It’s normal to take opportunities such as these where you are more in control of your own time to try new things. Perhaps you want to learn a new language? Maybe now is the perfect time to finish the DIY list you started putting together a year ago. Whatever is occupying your mind and your ‘to-do’ list, remember that taking a break and using this opportunity to relax and enjoy the simple things is equally as important.

In the spirit of putting yourself first, dedicating time to focus on your own physical and mental wellbeing, here are some of the things I am personally focusing on to hopefully give you some inspiration to embrace your downtime.

Time Out

Take a step back and stay there. Time out is incredibly important in your personal routine so however scary it sounds to do nothing, just go with the flow. If you’re the kind of person who constantly needs to be on the go, maximising every second of the here and now, take the time while you can to slow down and have a break from constantly trying to create and complete a jam-packed agenda.

The world will always be a busy place so try not to succumb to the social pressure of juggling more balls in your spare time than you would usually do. In fact, drop the bloody balls and go on a personal strike for as long as you want to. Do what’s right for you, you deserve it!  

Meditation

It’s easy to dismiss the idea of meditation as a load of BS. You might think that it’s time-consuming and nothing but overhyped breathing techniques but as the age-old phrase goes, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Meditation is about practicing awareness in order to observe your own thoughts and feelings without any judgement. Who wouldn’t want that?! By working even just 10 minutes of meditation into your daily routine, you become able to develop a powerful sense of perspective and accept your emotions as part of who you are. Meditation is proven to reduce anxiety, lower stress, help you sleep better and more.

There is no better time than now to make yourself happier and healthier. The question is, do we have any recommendations on how to help you practice your first meditation? Well…yes!

Calm is the #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation, with over 50 million downloads and over 700,000 5-star reviews. Including everything from two minute meditation masterclasses to improve your confidence, to sleep stories that help you drift into a deep and peaceful slumber, Calm can also teach your kids the art of mindfulness. Massive brownie points there!

Get Creative

Before COVID-19, your main focus probably didn’t include getting your hands dirty with a pottery class or an hour of still life drawing on a Wednesday evening after work. However now, there’s no better time to tap into your creative side and the good news is that it’s easier than you think.

Scrolling through Etsy will show you exactly how easy it is to start learning a new skill. Perhaps you want to give candle making a go or maybe something more traditional like needlework. The incredible thing about shopping online means that you won’t only feel immediately inspired by the variety of arts and crafts available, but you will also be helping to support a small business maintain cash flow during the current global crisis by making your purchase!

Explore Online Learning

Something you should always have on your ‘to-do’ list is online learning. Ultimately transcending into the idea that you are willing to invest in your current and future self, there is an endless supply of online resources both paid and free to explore.

It’s amazing to know that should you want to fill your downtime with developing new or brushing up on existing skills, there is something to suit everyone at the click of a button.

The Open University offers an incredible range of free classes with many endorsed by the CPD Standards Office, Masterclass are now enabling you to gain 2 access passes to all of their lessons for only £170, yoga sensation Cat Meffan has recorded some amazing sessions you can access via her Instagram stories and Duolingo is always a great freebie when it comes to broadening your language horizons. It’s also important not to forget that we personally offer lessons and interactive webinars where you can meet and learn from experts and business coaches from the comfort of your own home when you sign up to our exclusive membership and become a ‘Rising Star’. So, if your idea of downtime and relaxation involves adding a new string to your bow, then now might be the perfect time to get cracking!

Practice Self Love

A happy and fulfilled life means that taking care of yourself by practicing a little self-love goes a long way. Our thoughts create our actions and therefore how we treat ourselves and those around us defines our lives.

Self-love is doing what is right for you. The reality is that if we neglect ourselves, we quickly burn out leaving us unable to experience the world around us and care for those we love properly. Self-love is not difficult, it is not time-consuming and it definitely should not be towards the bottom of your priority list.

Make it a priority to get a good nights sleep. Make it a priority to focus on your mental health. Make it a priority to do the things that make you feel great about your body. Make it a priority to maintain your favourite hobbies. Make it a priority set goals and stick to the pathway you know will lead you to them. Make it a priority to love yourself, for yourself.

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