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Downtime is Necessary for Your Mental Well-Being

It's okay to take a break.

In today’s world, it’s very tempting to want to “hustle” constantly. We see it on social media every day. People are out there working their tails off to make their dreams come true. There are books to read, podcasts to hear, and videos to watch. We’re advised to wake up an hour earlier to go to the gym, or to skip out on our favorite show in the evening in order to get in a couple extra hours of work. If we have extra minutes in a day, we should spend it replying to emails.

I’ve tried all of that, and while I admire those that opt in to that lifestyle, I think it’s exhausting.

We, as human beings, need to relax. Our brains can’t run constantly without burning out, so to speak. I find myself reaching my own mental capacity every few months if I’ve been working without taking a vacation or, at the very least, some time off. Let’s be real, not everyone can take a vacation every three months; I usually spend my time off at the library where it’s free and quiet.

When I was mindlessly scrolling Instragram one day, I came across a quote that actually inspired this article. It said “Suffering is not a superpower.” Whoa. Does that give you chills, or was it just me?

I’ve suffered general anxiety and seasonal depression as long as I can remember; I get a little more crazy once a month and a little more sad once a year. I find myself in the trenches of my own mind on occasion, and it took years to find any footholds to climb back out. The older I get, the more ways I find to beat the mental knock-down-drag-out that tends to come with overworking myself.

One of the best ways I have found to help myself is downtime. Downtime is so, so important. You can call it what you want. I call it downtime because I don’t have any serious hobbies; for me, downtime is literally time where I sit down and do nothing that takes a lot of mental or physical energy.

I love to read, I enjoy writing, and I absolutely can’t get enough of serial killer documentaries. I have anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours of free time every day, and I don’t use it to cram in more work. I have ambitions and a great work ethic, but I take care of my mind above all else. You should too.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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