If there is one thing I have come to value since becoming a mom, it’s downtime. And the busier I get as a mom, the more I need it. It’s a matter of simple economics, more specifically the supply and demand principle: once my supply of downtime dwindled down to nothing, I came to value it more than anything.
This week my kids are on vacation with their dad, and I miss them a ton but I’m secretly savoring the alone time. Someone asked me recently what my favorite downtime activities are and this seemed like the perfect time to answer that question.
You may think I’m a nerd but reading is my #1 downtime activity. I am seriously obsessed with books. I actually created a Pinterest board just to celebrate how much I love books in my home (and other people’s homes). I love to escape to a different world, with new characters I haven’t met yet and new situations and plotlines and locations…and when the book ends I nearly always feel a little bit sad to say goodbye.
Bear with me on this one. I don’t usually look forward to exercising…ok I never look forward to it. But once I get started, and it actually starts to feel good, then I’m like, hey why don’t I do this every day? And then I remember, oh yeah, I DO do this every day but I usually dread it. And then I’m like, I should be more psyched about this because it actually feels pretty good in my body.
So, exercise is not exactly what I actively look forward to in my downtime…but I always feel good afterward, and I never regret doing it.
I’m referring to mindfulness meditation — that’s the kind in which you sit quietly and just focus on your breathing. Yes, really. Taking 10-20 minutes to focus on your breathing is a time investment that pays off big time in terms of your mood and overall happiness.
If you are a person who sometimes can get caught up in thought loops (and who doesn’t), meditation can help you detach from thought patterns and simply observe from a higher, more objective place. It helps you be kinder to yourself and to others. I could write a whole book on this topic but this short paragraph will have to suffice for now.
What types of activities do you enjoy during your downtime?