mahabis journal // where did downtime go?
Sometimes it can feel as though 21st Century life is chipping away at our downtime.
When we travel to and from work, we are plugged into technology, either scrolling through our social media feeds on the train, or listening to digital radio with our phones plugged into the hands free in our cars.
At home, we pick up our laptops and tablets rather than resting or communicating with those that we live with. We take our phones to bed with us at night. The emails roll in, and the notifications go beyond the 9-5. Our lives are becoming increasingly dominated by our screens, and the downtime that we used to take for granted is vanishing.
It seems there's a constant need to be plugged into the rest of the world, and these days, the underlying fear of missing out (this has even gained its own acronym: fomo) can be overwhelming. Social media is partially responsible for this necessity to always know what is happening online, but factors such as hectic work lives and the evolution of technology all count towards us neglecting downtime.
This coincides with the Oxford Junior Dictionary’s decision to remove a selection of ‘natural’ words that they deem no longer in popular use. Words including ‘acorn’, ‘buttercup’, ‘lark’ and ‘conkers’ have been replaced by technological terms such as ‘blog’, ‘broadband’, and ‘chatroom’.
As the next generation are encouraged to learn the terms associated with technology, it's easy to see how we can become disconnected from the natural world, and forget what it's like to exist without being constantly plugged in.
So when exactly did downtime seem to fade away? Some will argue that downtime has been on the decline since the television gained popularity in the mid-20th Century, others may say that it is the age of the internet that has caused us to neglect our downtime, or the inception of smart phones. Modern life offers so many distractions and alternatives to relaxing, that it is no surprise that we forget or neglect downtime.
Downtime needs to be an essential part of our daily lives. It’s important for our health, creativity and productivity to rest and relax.
It's not a luxury, it's a necessity.
Why has taking it easy, become so difficult? There comes a time when we should focus our energies on slowing down, rather than speeding up. Embrace the feeling of home, take time for yourself, and unplug.
Take an hour out of your day to go for a walk, read a book, plan a retreat, or just indulge in some time doing - nothing -