Many of the things I do in my downtime are a means to “escape reality”. I watch countless episodes of crime investigation shows on Netflix, read books about fantasy and romance, or scroll through Instagram. I do these things to give myself a “break” from life, but in actuality, they cause me more stress because they don’t help my frame of mind at all! Looking to escape is never the true answer when your goal in life is to be happy. One of my favorite authors stated,
“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.” James Allen
This is so true!!! There is never a time in your life that you are stagnant. You are always putting your thoughts and energy somewhere, and this quote helped me realize that I am not using my downtime in a way that will help me achieve the direction I am headed. When I read the scriptures or an uplifting novel, when I talk to loved ones, when I do simple acts of service like write notes to people or write in my journal…these are the most efficient and effective ways to pass time!!
Don’t get me wrong, I still do the things mentioned in the beginning often, but I am becoming more mindful of how I feel after the fact. Realizing that I usually feel empty and not uplifted is helping me to do more meaningful things in my down time. Even taking a nap can be more restoring than binge watching a Netflix series!
I encourage you to pay attention to the way you feel when you do certain actions, and if you don’t feel inspired or uplifted, then maybe it’s time to find a new pastime.