Taking A Beat

How should we make the most of downtime?

Posted Dec 20, 2017

Something wonderful happened this past weekend, and I want to share it with you.

I took a breath.

Well, yes, I take lots of breaths, but not often of this variety. Months of nonstop promotion and marketing and projects and travel and output finally s-l-o-w-e-d to the point that I could physically and mentally breathe. Phew.

At first, I felt a tinge of anxiety, but I embraced it. I didn't make any advance plans, and still I wrote (for pleasure), rode bikes on the beach, checked out some art, went to yoga, attended a film screening, meditated, took a walk, cooked, read a book, slept — a "full" schedule that felt anything but busy. I even just sat and stared for a while. It was heavenly.

Anna Akbari
Source: Anna Akbari

I've talked about our culture of busyness in the past, but making the most of downtime when it happens is equally important. It's easy to get anxious when things slow down. What if nothing else comes up? Why isn't anyone reaching out?

Whether it's a slowdown in your work or social life, taking a periodic beat is beneficial. It's the kind of head-clearing, soul-searching, heart-filling, blood-pumping, all-around replenishing gift of inaction that we must embrace when it's presented to us. Cause let's face it: it doesn't happen all that often. So dig in while you can.

This week, go to your calendar and look for an opening — even if it's just a day — somewhere in the next month. Circle it. Plan nothing (even if offers arise, and they likely will). Luxuriate in its openness. Bask in its stillness. Breathe.