Downtime, You Need It

I took a long break over the holidays. A much longer break than I normally take, but it was needed. After a year of nearly non-stop cranking, it was time to sit back and relax. My family bought an RV and we made our way from freezing cold Oklahoma to sunny and warm Florida.

We stopped frequently at state parks, it was at these forests and rivers I realized I’d not slowed down much over the past several months. I had needed to slow down, to enjoy the fresh air, to sit and think thoughts other than work thoughts.

I recently read an article by Ferris Jabr on Scientific American, and this stood out:

Americans and their brains are preoccupied with work much of the time. Throughout history people have intuited that such puritanical devotion to perpetual busyness does not in fact translate to greater productivity and is not particularly healthy. What if the brain requires substantial downtime to remain industrious and generate its most innovative ideas? “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets,” essayist Tim Kreider wrote in The New York Times. “The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
This year, make time to not do anything. Take a retreat to not catch up. Rest, relax, and enjoy God’s great creation. Breathe in and breathe out, be healed, and then come home rested and ready to get real work done. I’m living that out right now and hope you will too.

Rex Barrett @rexbarrett