Non-Working Hours: The Importance of Downtime

Whatever your career path might be, chances are that you stay very busy. A job takes many hours out of a person's day – whether time spent on the job or time spent driving to and from the job – and those are the hours people tend to focus on, often to the exclusion of their non-working hours. Those hours away from the job, though, can be wonderfully beneficial in shaping a more well-rounded life. Self-care, too often overlooked, should be prioritized. Workaholics, take heed: here's to the importance of downtime.

Stress Reduction

Some personality types, like ESFP, find downtime easier to deal with than other types, like INTJ. For the ESFP, for example, having fun is second nature. INTJs, on the other hand, tend to have more trouble relaxing because their minds are frequently hard at work on whatever problem might be at hand. Whatever your personality type, you can benefit from relaxation techniques such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and yoga, which help with stress reduction. Lowering your day-to-day stress level is vital to a long-term healthy lifestyle.

Reducing Pressure

Downtime as part of a healthy lifestyle works in reducing pressure. Often, busy people put pressure on themselves, trying to get many things done each day. Again, self-care techniques are a must. You can't skimp on eating right, exercising, and getting adequate rest. You might think you're maximizing your work hours by pushing self-care considerations aside, but in reality, you put yourself on the road to burnout and your health at risk when you neglect the basics of a healthy lifestyle. Make the most of your downtime by prioritizing healthy eating, exercise, and regular sleep.

Having Fun

Stress reduction means different activities to different personality types

Another important component of downtime is having fun. Have you accumulated weeks and weeks of vacation time which you haven't used because you think you're too busy? Use some of that time to take a break from the day-to-day work grind, whether you go on a trip or stay home. Fun means different things to different personality types. An ISTP might unwind by going on a motorcycle ride, while an ESFJ might let his hair down by whipping up a delicious concoction in the kitchen. Regardless of your inclinations, take time out to have fun, in whatever way the concept is most meaningful for you.

Hobbies

Work is important, but you shouldn't let your work, alone, define you. By cultivating hobbies during your downtime, you can get to know people outside your workaday world, learn new skills, and discover latent talents. You'll learn, by developing a range of interests, how multifaceted you truly are, and this deeper self-knowledge serves you well, both on the job and at home. You'll develop a greater sense of understanding of the many different abilities people have, which translates into more appreciation for diversity and for what every unique person can bring to life's table. It's healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally – to make the most of your non-working hours.

The importance of downtime cannot be overstated. Everybody needs time for self-care, relaxation, and fun. Downtime helps rejuvenate you and replenish your energy, your enthusiasm, and your capacity for doing the best job possible on your life's journey, both personally and professionally.

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