Does CHILLING OUT stress you out?
Does going on holiday stress you out? You are not alone. I have a number of clients who have difficulty winding down. Some of them explained , “Soonest I’m on the plane I get tremendous panic attack and I worry about all these days I will have nothing to do, as I will not be productive”. Another client said, “The more I try not to think about work, the more I think about work” and “miss the high energy of being at the office and getting things done.”
Downtime can be a challenge.
It’s less about being a workaholic and more about the need to have your mind occupied all the time, whether it’s listening to the news during breakfast or a podcast when running, or checking Instagram on the train, watching tv before bed or playing CandyCrush in line at favourite salad bar. Every free moment is filled. And we all suffer from this. Those with high-powered jobs, those with routine and standardised job but also children, who often don’t know what to do when they have nothing to do.
“But the benefits of alone time abound. Studies show that solitude is crucial for the development of the self. As highlighted in a study entitled, Solitude: An Exploration of Benefits of Being Alone, solitude is associated with freedom, creativity, intimacy, and spirituality.
Spending time alone means growing spiritually, discovering your identity without outside distractions, having the freedom to do what you want without needing to cater to other people’s wants and thriving creatively.” said Dr. Boardman
How do you feel about doing now one short and challenging experiment?
Are you in? I hope you are 😉
Ok, let’s do it then. Look what time it is, and now close your eyes for 1 minute and keep them closed. Allow your mind to wander, go wherever he wants to take you. That’s ok. The challenge is to keep eyes closed for the whole minute. Open your eyes ONLY WHEN YOU THINK 1 minute passed already.
— 1 MINUTE — CLOSE YOUR EYES PLEASE —
How did it go? Was is 1 minute or muuuuch longer or way shorter? Or you didn’t do it thinking ‘what’s the point’. The idea of making our lives sweeter and a little life better is almost dreamy, beautiful and sounds luxurious. It also sounds very in lined with New Year’s Resolutions. And the blocking or stopping mechanism is the same. Unwillingness to be in a discomfort, even for 1 minute..
Meditation and other relaxation techniques are useful ways to make downtime more tolerable and also productive. By gaining control over one’s thoughts, the little annoyances like traffic jams and waiting rooms become less stressful and the big questions become less daunting.
These last few weeks I spent a lot of time talking to my clients about how they spend their days. And what I often ask them to do, is at least 15 minutes a day, every day, of doing NOTHING. As a result, their mind-set about free time (and me-time) has shifted. Instead of thinking of downtime as a source of anxiety, they now think of it as a privilege and something they looks forward putting into ‘daily calendar’ 🙂
If you’d like to read more about it:
- here’s the Solitude: An Exploration of Benefits of Being Alone research
- the original article, which inspired me to share my point of view
- good way to Chill Out – joining the Fit Chill Out Retreats, which I organize in Bali & Thailand