When your work-life balance is disrupted, or life begins to feel eclipsed by stress, anxiety, or tension, it can be extremely tempting to turn to distractions that allow you to relax, switch off your brain for a while, and ‘disengage’ from the pragmatic stream-of-consciousness that seems to define the rest of your waking life.
While disconnecting for a short while can have its benefits for our mental health, it’s not particularly fulfilling – nor is it helping us to address the real issue at hand, which is that positivity, fun, and enjoying oneself for the sake of it are all being overshadowed by the need to meet deadlines, help others, or focus on issues that drain our energy reserves and make it impossible for us to focus on ourselves, even for a short while.
So, instead of tuning into that re-runs of reality TV or scrolling through the same posts on social media, consider trying out one of these fun, engaging activities for an hour or so instead.
Nothing exercises the imagination like a good book. While it gives you an opportunity to escape reality for a while, it doesn’t enable you to ‘tune out’ – the story takes place entirely in your own mind. Reading is a skill, and it certainly takes practice; much of our working lives demand us to skim-read, and this can have a lasting impact on our ability to really focus on a piece of writing. Practicing this skill is, however, extremely rewarding, and a great way to unwind.
You don’t need to own any expensive equipment to enjoy photography. Spending an afternoon in nature brings its own benefits, as does tuning into your own creativity and producing something totally unique. Focus on finding beautiful details in commonplace objects; it will help you to slow down, appreciate the little things, and focus on the world outside of your bubble for a while.
Not only does gaming help us to tap into our creativity, it is also a great way to learn a new skill, distract ourselves from ruminating on the constant list of demands life places on us, and feel a strong sense of accomplishment when we come out on top. Again, you don’t need to jump to buying any big-ticket consoles to get into gaming. There are plenty of games you can enjoy on your computer, like solitaire, deuces wild available from www.slotsheaven.com, or Tetris.
Learning a new skill is one of the best things we can do for our brains – especially if they’re flooded with thoughts, To Do lists, deadlines and appointments. Crochet requires you to follow instructions, improve dexterity, and practice patience as your creations slowly take form. It’s an incredibly practical skill, and seeing yourself improve at a new task is a great way to feel more confident in your own abilities.
One of the oldest forms of self-care out there, people have been extolling the benefits of meditation since at least 5,000 BCE. The best news? There are no rules. Meditation can be as guided or as free as you want it to be. Create some a safe meditation space for yourself, put away all distractions for as long as you feel the need. Practice dispelling those intrusive thoughts, and simply tune into your own breath for a while.
Most days, many of us simply hop in and out of the shower just long enough to get clean, and don’t stop to enjoy the process. A hot bath – complete with a candle and plenty of scented bubbles – demands a much slower pace. It’s an opportunity to disconnect from our phones, keep still, gain some privacy from the rest of the household, and think our own thoughts. If you’re having trouble sleeping, a warm bath scented with lavender is a great way to prepare you for a long, deep night’s sleep.
Philosophers have been perfecting the art of self-study for millennia. It gives us an opportunity to think deeply about ourselves, and transcribing all those messy thoughts and feelings into words is a great way to gain some much-needed clarity about difficult or confusing situations. Making a habit out of journaling is a great way to devote a little time to yourself each day, and to reap the benefits of self-discovery.
8. Doing a Puzzle
From time to time, taking a break from the screen has its perks. A jigsaw puzzle offers hours of distraction, and a great sense of accomplishment when the work is finally done.
9. Writing a Letter
We spend so much of our lives texting but, often, whether from lack of time or concentration, we miss out some of the most important parts of our days. It can be hard to convey emotions over text, and all too easy to rely on emojis to do the hard work for us. Letter writing is an art in and of itself, and it offers a great excuse to turn off the TV for a while, tune into how you’re feeling, and learn more about your loved ones.
- Tending to Plants
Plants are much simpler than humans, but developing your green thumb takes patience, skill, and commitment. Like us, they all have different requirements, and can begin to feel (and look) less than their best without constant care and attention. Devoting some time each day to cultivating your plants will help to provide structure, and a much-needed boost when your hard work pays off.