DOWN­TIME, DONE RIGHT!

Fol­low these steps for your clear­est mind yet

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Health - Amanda Gor­don

For so many of us, be­ing busy is a way of life but clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Amanda Gor­don says this needs to change. “With­out down­time in our lives, we power on mind­lessly – we need time to re­flect and fo­cus on what’s truly im­por­tant in life,” she says.

MAKE TIME FOR IT

You sched­ule meet­ings, din­ners and work­outs, but how of­ten do you sched­ule breaks? And pop it in your di­ary – that way you’re far more likely to hon­our it.

BRUSH OFF THE GUILT

“Our cul­ture seems to ap­plaud busy­ness and con­demn those who take space to en­sure their ac­tiv­i­ties are worth­while and ef­fec­tive,” says Amanda. It can be con­fus­ing, but just re­mem­ber, you are not a bad per­son for tak­ing time to care for your­self. In fact, you’ll be bet­ter – and health­ier – for it.

CUT YOUR SCREEN TIME

So­cial me­dia binges and mind­less TV en­ter­tain­ment might seem re­lax­ing, but too much screen time is ter­ri­ble for your rest, says Amanda. Re­cent stud­ies have found it can have a dam­ag­ing ef­fect on your brain’s cog­ni­tive func­tions like mak­ing de­ci­sions, con­trol­ling im­pulses and pro­cess­ing emo­tions.

EN­RICH YOUR MIND

Our brains need con­stant stim­u­la­tion. Amanda says these may only need to be sim­ple things. Try en­gag­ing with oth­ers, read a real book, lis­ten to a pod­cast, go for a long walk, cre­ate some­thing or just cook a new meal – it’s com­pletely up to you.

REST

A power nap can last 10-30 min­utes and should not be un­der­es­ti­mated. They’re good for stress lev­els and can help with prob­lem solv­ing, ver­bal mem­ory and per­cep­tual land sta­tis­ti­cal learn­ing. No time? Amanda sug­gests gen­tle move­ment and fre­quent small breaks.

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