What do you like to do outside of work? What are the activities that fill you up? What gives your brain a break from all those thoughts you're thinking?
For me, It's Pilates. I've been taking Pilates for two years now and it's hard. Really hard. And in every class, the instructor asked me to do things that are just at the edge of my abilities. They're hard for me to do well.
I really have to concentrate. All my focus and all my rubbery muscles are dedicated to the task of trying, not necessarily succeeding, but trying to do what I've been asked.
When I leave class, my body is tired and my mind is so much quieter. There's a reason for that. There's a reason your brain feels better when you take a break.
Our brains were designed to solve problems related to survival in an outdoor environment in nearly constant motion. Those pieces don't really apply to modern life, do they?
Most of the time we're trying to solve problems that are not related to survival in an indoor environment while sitting still. Bad plan.
That's why a walk makes you feel better. That's why we pace in hospitals.
Movement helps us process thoughts and emotions.
But your downtime doesn't have to include a physical activity to be in beneficial. It could be reading or pottery or building Lego kits.
It surprises me how many people don't have a favorite activity that they can turn to.
I think as adults, we sometimes think we need to be serious and we don't have time for something as seemingly frivolous as fun. When I ask my clients, "What do you like to do in your spare time?" They say, "What spare time?"
I get it. But here's the thing, carving out a little time to focus on something entirely unrelated to your work will give you more energy, more enthusiasm, and a clearer vision of what to do.
We've all had that moment of brilliant inspiration when you go take a shower and suddenly, you know the answer to the problem you've been wrestling with.
That's not magic. That's you giving your brain what it needs to function at its best. If you don't have a hobby or favorite activity, I encourage you to find one.
Think back to what you really loved doing when you were a kid, are there any pieces of that that you could incorporate? What about coloring? Or could you join a basketball league? Could you build model airplanes?
Taking time to do this really is one of the best investments you can possibly make in your mental health and your life satisfaction.
I can't wait to hear what you choose to do. Send me some photos of what you've made or what you've done. I'd really love to see.