The importance of down time

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my husband and I found ourselves with no plans. For the first time in 10 years, we were going to spend a holiday at home. Together. Just us (and the herd) without planes, trains, or automobiles.

We hosted a good friend and made the whole event low-key, relaxed, full of laughter and conversation… and tons of food, of course. Then, we took all day Friday to lounge around the house, sipping coffee, playing with the dogs, reading, and working on long-forgotten hobbies.


Dare I say: It was delightful. I didn’t power on my laptop until Saturday, and even then it was to look up instructions for a sewing project. No work. All weekend. That hasn’t happened in almost as long as we’ve been traveling for holidays.

And you know what? I hit the computer hard core on Monday morning. I was fresh. Recharged. I had ideas. Lots of them. I plowed through Monday and right into Tuesday. The pace continued.

When I stepped back and thought about it, I realized I’ve been skipping downtime altogether. And, based on my productivity immediately following the long weekend, it’s clear that was a mistake.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know it’s not possible to knock off every evening or stay away from email on both Saturday and Sunday.

But give it a whirl. See if you can commit to one weekend day every weekend to do nothing but things you enjoy, hobbies like hiking or reading that get pushed aside in the bustle of everyday life. Can’t do a whole day? Set aside a few hours.

Trust me. It’s worth it. You might just come back and thank me later.