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The Upside of Downtime

By: Dr. Rachel Thomson, PTLA, DPT

Shelter in place has been a change for millions of Americans, as many are arguably spending more time in their homes with “nothing” to do. Boredom and ceased productivity may be at the forefront of our minds with downtime; however, there is an upside to having nothing to do. This allots the autonomy to take on parts of ourselves and our lives that we do not typically have time for. Here are 5 ways you can take advantage of the upside of downtime:

1. Habituate a stretching routine

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends stretching 2-3 days/week, targeting all major muscle groups. Static stretches should range from 10-30 seconds for general population and 30-60 seconds for older adults, however, long duration has been found to have significant benefit. Check out one of my favorite YouTube Instructors in the links above for an example of a stretching routine.

2. Clean out your closet and storage to donate to those in need

When is the last time you went through the things you do not wear or use? How often have you said you did not have time to clean out the garage? Now is your chance! Out with the old and in with the new- whether it be a new space for creativity, your home office or to simply give back.

3. Enhance your curb appeal

Grab your gloves, a shovel and get ready to get down and dirty and grow a green thumb! This is a perfect time to pull weeds in the yard to prepare for new landscape, planting flowers or even growing your first garden! There is time to care for the beauty right outside your front yard- plus it is satisfying to see plants and flowers grow and bloom.

4. Guided meditation

Calm and HeadSpace are two apps that provide a safe space to time for yourself and reflect on how you are doing. This a challenging time and these are just a few ways to decrease stress and anxiety accompanying these ever-changing times.

5. Learn a new skill

Take up a new instrument, learn a language for future travels, perfect your juggling skills, exercise your math skillsets with Ken-Ken or SUDOKU, or learn to cook! The possibilities for new skillsets are endless- you just have to pick!

So there you have it- five ways to see the upside of downtime. To some, downtime may not be enjoyable. However, it is a gift for our bodies, brains, families, and homes. Take advantage of the downtime and enjoy the time to reconnect and enhance your life.

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