Why do we struggle with down time?


I am really bad at handling free time. Down time. Transition time. Whatever you want to call it. The struggle is real and can be debilitating.


You’re sitting there on a chair, after sleeping-in for the first time in weeks or months, feeling nervous about not having any commitments.


It feels uncomfortable, unproductive, unsatisfying. Why do we struggle with down time?


I can be successful “away” on vacation, but when I take scheduled breaks at home, it’s a challenge to not fill up the day(s) with my “to do” list.


There’s always something I could or should be doing, whether it’s cleaning out the closet, organizing my office, tidying up the guest room. Or even more “fun“ stuff like making homemade ravioli, or taking a leisurely run on the NCR Trail.


So what do I do when this unsettled feeling starts to creep in?


First, I recognize that I feel anxious. I acknowledge my heartbeat may be more rapid, my thoughts may be all over the place, and I may feel unfocused or unharnessed.


I might even say to myself aloud, “Oh, hello anxiety. You’re back. I feel unfocused and messed up, but I know it’s just you again."


Then, typically it hits me, and I recognize that this is just a transition period for me (this often requires every power of my routine to override my anxiety).


This happens whenever my schedule changes drastically. I remember feeling this way in March 2020 when we all went into pandemic-quarantine (high gear to low gear).


Then again in early September 2020, when everything was shifting on a seemingly daily basis (low gear to high gear).


Then yet again, in late winter (high gear to overdrive). Now I’m facing it again (overdrive to park) at least for a couple of weeks.


So how will I get through? I’ll remind myself that I have gone through this so many times, and I’ve gotten through each one just fine.


Within a few days I’ll fall into a new routine, and you may mistake me for a sloth!!!


See you soon.

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