The Importance Of Downtime

The Importance Of Downtime

Leaving your phone behind is the best rest
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Downtime: a time of reduced activity or inactivity. We are all like phones that overheat in the sun, only we need to prevent ourselves from wearing down and becoming so exhausted or over exerted. In this era, our entire day if not our entire week revolves around our technology whether we realize that or not. Our phones are our main source of communication and information which makes leaving it behind practically impossible. But, since we are like phones that get overheated, we desperately need downtime. If you want to plead that you can simply go without it- be my guest, but this isn’t an article to tell you that you’re wrong but to encourage you to put the phone down; unplug and unwind.

Unwinding is a great way to look at the world without the view off of your phone screen and to enjoy the people sitting right next to you. Often our technology drains us from hours of social media and web surfing, and it is so re-energizing to put down your devices and forget about the whole other world in your device. Downtime is a way to rest. Not where you sit inside on a nice day for a break and tweet your every thought but a time to rest and not worry about being left out in the social media realm. Worry less about being left out, and focus more on being a part of what is happening in the real world right in front of you!

Give yourself time to relax and not worry if your selfie will get enough likes or if someone is subtweeting you. Relax because we need time to ourselves! Downtime can be fun! It can be an exhilarating book, laying by the pool, or even floating down a lazy river! Use your breaks for real down time from school to give yourself true rest from the technological world we live in! In fact be wise in your weekend time and use that for maximum rest and relaxation so you start the week feeling fresh and feeling rejuvenated not tuckered out from hours of web searching and selfies.

Sometimes downtime doesn’t just apply to the point of resting because you’ve had a long day, it doesn’t always mean to take a nap. Maybe we should be looking at the word downtime totally different. Maybe we should see it as downtime from our crazy busy technological lives; taking time to be in the realm with our friends at a baseball game, rather than in the stands Snapchatting everyone in our contacts and playing games. Maybe downtime should mean that we are unplugging and spending the day with our family or being connected with those around us without the use of technology that can distract us from the relationships and rest time right in front of us.

Downtime is so important to our minds to keep ourselves refreshed and to keep ourselves connected with those in the same room as us. This week I encourage you to take some downtime whether that’s a nap, personal time, time to chat with a friend without distractions, or to even just lay by the pool; notice how much easier it is to disconnect after you’ve done it a few times. I promise by the end you will be so happy you put your phone down and you will want to do it more often!

Cover Image Credit: Aulani Hawaii Disney Resort

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Take A Break, Trust Me, You Need It

It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

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I recently went on a little mini vacation. Where'd I go, you ask? Nowhere.

That's the best part.

Thankfully, I have a full-time job with great benefits. One of them being paid time off. I recently used all of my PTO, plus the two days I get off a week, which turned into a long and well-needed mini staycation. I stayed at home, slept, caught up on my programs, did some homework, and decluttered.

And you know what? It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

I wasn't sick. I was mainly just stressed out and overwhelmed. It was like getting the rest I didn't know I was lacking. It was like having all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. No due dates, no deadlines. No time crunches, no schedules to follow (except my school one).

I'm not telling you to take a week off work and school. But, if you have that opportunity—PTO, spring break—then take advantage of it.

You don't have to go on some extravagant vacation either. Doing something as simple as staying in bed all day, watching Netflix, and spending time with your loved ones is just as relaxing.

It also taught me the importance of self-love and taking care of yourselves. I was stressed, and I feel like I'll never be fully "de-stressed," but for a while, I was able to sit back and smell the roses. I was able to recollect myself, spend some time on me.

Sometimes, you just need a day. Whenever I feel like I need a day off, whether it be with work or school, I usually feel bad about it. I feel awful missing class, or having to call out sick to work. I eventually get over it, though, because at the end of the day, I'm taking care of myself.

Missing one day won't kill you. Take care of your mental health.

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