Something that can get in the way of proper ‘me time’ is taking advantage of healthy ‘switching off’ and ‘recharging your batteries’.

Switching off usually involves as little movement or engagement, that sloth like response to doing nothing.  It’s when we simply stop and do nothing, put our feet up, take a nap or become absorbed in something that takes us out of our daily routine and challenges, and gives us a mental break.  This pressing pause or what the Italians call ‘il dolce far niente’ or ‘the sweetness of doing nothing’ has wonderful benefits for us and cascaded to those around us.

Research has shown it:

  • Improves creativity – just think of how when doing nothing you suddenly get that ‘lightbulb moment’.
  • Increases awareness – when we stop being on auto-pilot, we can tune into our thoughts and emotions more.
  • Improves productivity and focus – when we do something mindless it replenishes our cognitive resources.
  • Helps learning and memory – when we are given time to rest we can remember and learn more.
  • Reduces stress – when we do nothing, we move from ‘fight and flight’ to ‘rest and digest’ and have better access to our body’s positive chemicals of serotonin and oxytocin.
  • Better sleep – have you noticed how much more tired you are when you do nothing? Doing less before bedtime enhances the quality of your sleep.
  • Builds up resilience – with more down time we are better equipped to manage life’s challenges with a calm and clear head.

However, there’s health and hindering switching off.  You know what I mean, when we put our feet up after a busy day and treat ourselves to not just a glass of wine but possibly the bottle.  Or we relax with a big bar of chocolate or a family size bag of crisps, whilst binge-watching Netflix, only to have lost track of time.  Or you may recognise that you check in what you’ve been missing on social media and hours later, you’ve used up most of your evening and don’t necessarily feel the better for it.  In other words, ‘hindering switching off’  is when a treat becomes more of a torment to us as we berate ourselves for eating, drinking, smoking, surfing or staying up too late.

One way to steer you towards positive switching off is to reframe your language and instead talk about ‘recharging your batteries’.  By changing the focus of doing nothing with a message of positive intent will help steer our thinking towards looking for ways that will make us feel more calm, relaxed, peaceful and happier.

By changing our language, we are tapping into our reticular activating system (RAS) – it starts above your spinal cord and is about two inches long and it’s where all your senses come in.  Your RAS helps to filter out distractions and with almost like tunnel-like-vision, helps us to focus on what is really important to us.  By using the word ‘intend’ (and not words like hope or want) it kick starts our RAS into gear and gets our conscious and unconscious mind to work together.

So how do you intend to recharge your batteries?  Let me know – of you’d like help to find out how to press pause into your day or week, then get in touch and book a sample coaching session with Kate.

(Psst if you are looking for some ideas, revisit the first blog on Me Time)