Coffee and a muffin as restorative downtime.

Downtime

I treated myself today. Not by shopping for clothes or stuffing down chocolate cake—I treated myself with downtime. My free time has been taken up with writing. Grant, my husband, and I are doing the finishing touches on our memoirs. Both of us leap out of bed in the middle of the night and scribble down a thought. Often in the wee hours of the morning I see the lights on in Grant’s study. Some days my head is in turmoil with scattered images and I can’t organize them into sentences. That is when I procrastinate by eating or baking.   

Today was a perfect day for making muffins, cool and rainy out. I slid the muffin pan into the oven, poured myself a cup of coffee and began washing the mixing bowl and measuring cups. By the time I cleaned up the kitchen the muffins were ready and it was time to get back to writing. But then I remembered the article that I had recently read about wasting time vs. giving oneself downtime. That is what I need – downtime. The writing can wait.

According to an article by Heidi Stevens, Tribune News Service, we need restorative downtime for our mental and physical health. Hours on face book or Netflix does not count as downtime. Sitting quietly with ones thoughts does. Inspired by this article, I gave myself permission to butter a warm muffin, pour another cup of coffee and curl up in my husband’s big leather rocker and browse the morning paper. I actually tasted my coffee, savoured it and relaxed. It was only 25 minutes but I felt rejuvenated. As I entered my study to write I noticed I didn’t feel that usual rushing feeling, that “oh I have so much to do and no time for me” feeling I carry around. And once I sat down at my computer the writing flowed.

So I have promised myself that every day, for a half hour I will sit with a book, or knitting, and just be, just be in that space of pleasure, and relax my mind.

We’ll see how it goes.

Liz Forbes

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