“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen
and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.” James Carroll
I recently came across an article written for CFO’s that cited a study which “found that 65% of American adults” sleep with their cell phones. The article alluded to the increased pressure to work longer hours in the face of current economic pressures, something most of us probably feel to varying degrees every day. Not to mention the pressures of trying to balance all that with our desire to honor the creative self which brings with it it’s own unique pressures.
The article suggested that, given all the investments CFO’s make into their businesses, one of the most important might just be an investment in downtime. “Planned and mindful slacking off,” it suggested, “may help optimize talent performance.” And the same is true for the rest of us: investing in our own downtime may help optimize the rest of our lives (not just work-related activities, but regarding the time we spend with our families, our creative endeavors, other personal interactions, and our own mental and physical health).
“Plants grow most in the darkest hours preceding dawn; so do human souls.
Nature always pays for a brave fight. Sometimes she pays in strengthened moral muscle,
sometimes in deepened spiritual insight, sometimes in a broadening, mellowing,
sweetening of the fibres of character,—but she always pays.” – William George Jordan
Another article in the Harvard Business Review claims that “drawing brighter lines between work and time off — family, friends, outside activities, and old-fashioned daydreaming — has clear benefits for productivity, creativity, and wellness. There’s an upside to downtime.”
There’s a reason the business world is noticing this essential fact. They’re designed to explore the best ways to maximize performance and to reduce costs and they’re seeing the humans who work for them in that light. But how often do we examine our own lives that way?
It’s not all about dollars and cents though, but about common sense. After all, relaxation affects the body, the mind, and the emotions. Relaxation can improve things like blood pressure and other heart-related problems associated with stress, maintaining the immune system, memory and the clarity of thought, and so on. Physiological and psychological benefits to every aspect of our lives, perhaps most especially to the parts associated more with our interaction with families and our interaction with ourselves than with our jobs.
Though daydreaming can certainly get you off task at times, some studies suggest that a certain element of daydreaming labeled “mind wandering,” may also be helpful for problem solving, creativity, and keeping “you on course for long-term goals.”
“There is a tonic strength, in the hour of sorrow and affliction, in escaping from the world
and society and getting back to the simple duties and interests we have slighted and forgotten.
Our world grows smaller, but it grows dearer and greater. Simple things have a new charm
for us, and we suddenly realize that we have been renouncing all that is greatest and best,
in our pursuit of some phantom.” – William George Jordan
Taking time to relax, to slow down and be mindful of the moment, to do activities like yoga or meditation, enjoy a massage, or go for a walk can recharge your energy and your spirit, but it can also provide an assortment of other benefits. We hope you take some time this week (even if that is merely for fifteen minutes a few days) to just be, to relax, to breathe, to find your “tonic strength.” This can add to your well being as well as to your creativity. Namaste!
Photo Credit Yoga by MeditationMusic