The Importance of Downtime

March 28, 2024

In this month’s newsletter we are going to explore one of the most important lessons we try and teach our high performers both in sport and in the board room: the importance of “slowing down to speed up”.

One of the things that has seen the massive growth in performance output and consistency in the sporting domain is the importance of recovery. This comes in the shape of sleep and downtime. In this newsletter we are going to focus on downtime.

The Easter break provides an opportunity to recharge after a period of work with the bank holidays. As such, taking a break can be an integral factor to hitting a higher performance going forwards. 

Taking time for yourself, to prioritise no tonly the quantity of time spent recovering but for me the quality of the recovery is essential to not only recharge our batteries but also to expand them.

So here are 4 key tips that you can think about as great ways to rest and recharge your energy and boost your mood:

Tip 1 – Tap into our playful side

When you think back to when you were a kid, or if you have children, you will see/remember that kids focus is to do things to have fun.

When kids are deep in play mode, they are full of energy. So, lets apply this to us, as adults – when was the last time that we did something for the sake of just having fun?

Over the break consider doing something wheret here is no other purpose other than to laugh, let your hair down and have fun.

Tip 2 – Spend time with those who make you feel loved

When we are around people who we love that is reciprocal is a great way to recharge our energy levels.

We may even ask the question; do we smile around these because others make us happy or is it because we don’t want them to be sad? Either way we are smiling.

Longitudinal studies (research that follows people over a long period of time) highlight that people who are happy tend to not only live a longer life, but a more satisfied one.

As such happiness is not a destination, but a process – so this break over Easter makes sure to fit in some quality time with the people you love.

Tip 3 – Resting or re-energising

One of the biggest misconceptions around having downtime is its needs to be sat down with your feet up or having a spa day.

Now for some of you this may sound bliss, but for others you may think “I couldn’t think of anything worse”. This highlights the individual differences between people.

Doing activities that slow you down could be from a physical perspective, or you may want to engage in activities that seem like the complete opposite.

For example I often get asked if "going out hiking counts as downtime”. My answer is always that it depends: if you enjoy it and come home full of energy (either mental or emotional) then this is a reenergising activity and may be exactly what is needed for you as you may be feeling flat at the moment.

If your role or current circumstances have you feeling like you are going 1000 miles an hour, then possibly a physically restful activity is what you need.

Regardless, you want to think about activities that make you feel good, whether its something that slows you down or even speeds you up – engaging in what you love.

Tip 4 – Adventureand Curiosity

The final thing that can be a restful or energising experience is doing something that is adventurous.

Doing or thinking about things with real curiosity can be a fantastic boost for our emotional energy.

So is there something you wanted to look into that you have never had the time to do (e.g., looking up your family history), or a route on a hike or walk you haven’t done before – can be a great way to give our emotional brain a boost.

Like to know more? Get in touch.

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