Relax to Recharge: How to improve your downtime

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We all love to veg. After long weeks of work, classes, projects and social events we all enjoy the lazy weekends where we wake up, move to the couch and binge-watch our favorite Netflix show. But after a few days like this, we often feel tired and lethargic rather than recharged. It’s like we’re hung-over with too much relaxation. How is that a thing?


Besides what scientists say about the merits of exercise (let’s go endorphins!), true relaxation often involves more activity than the modern practice of “vegging.” Old fashioned relaxation means actively doing something you enjoy, not just turning your brain off. According to Verily Magazine, “We need to pick activities that make us feel good afterward, in the big picture.”


This may mean finishing that book you started a year ago.


Completing your favorite craft.


Taking a walk outside.


Or just doing something that makes you feel alive.


Not that you should fill up your weekends with more “To Dos.” Just be purposeful about your downtime and do what recharges your mind. In an interview with the Washington Post, author Alex Pang talked about how influential people throughout history were very deliberate about their relaxation. They didn’t have Netflix to binge, but they found plenty of ways to recharge in manners that often inspired their work. “Charles Dickens walked about 10 miles a day. Scientists I looked at turned out to be avid, sailors, hikers, skiers. . . Really creative people discover that rest is a skill, the way breathing is a skill for singers or running is a skill for athletes – something that we all do, but can learn to do better.”

So make a plan. Maybe just watch one show next week. Hit pause on the remote, stop scrolling endlessly on social media and engage in some purposeful relaxation. Do something that makes you… well,  you!


Amelia Turkette is a senior studying professional writing. When she isn’t busy with class and working full time at MSU, she loves taking walks with her dog Bree, making a mess in the kitchen, and cozying up with a cup of coffee and one of the 10 good books she’s currently reading. Catch up with her on Twitter @amelia_turkette.


Tags: downtime, READing, relaxing, walking