December signals the time of year when things settle a bit and work winds down. Most of us have at least some time off from work responsibilities, which means we have to decide what to do with that free time.
Even though we have this greatly needed break from work, it can be hard to actually unplug and focus on recharging. It’s even harder when you’re working from home. When your office is in your house, it sometimes feels like you literally cannot get away from work.
If you’re anything like me, truly taking time off from work might make you feel anxious or unproductive. When I don’t have any official deadlines to meet or tasks to complete, I often find myself searching for ways to fill up my free time. Even if there isn’t anything pressing I need to work on, I still feel like I need to be doing something productive, whether it’s cleaning my house, planning for the future, or making progress on a long-term goal.
I think this is a side effect of our generation’s obsession with hustle culture, and I’m really trying to move away from that line of thinking. It’s so, so important to take a true break now and then. Constantly working and hustling almost always leads to an inevitable burnout, which comes with plenty of negative mental and physical effects.
Long story short? You need a break. Here are a few ideas for young adults who want and need to really rest and recharge.
Do A Brain Dump
Our brains are constantly on and running from the time we wake up to the time that we (finally) fall asleep at night. Brain dumping is one of my absolute favorite things to do when I know I need to take a mental break.
All you have to do is grab a pen and a notebook and start writing everything you’re thinking. You can write down things you’re worried about, things you need to do in the future, and anything else that’s taking up space in your mind. It’s amazing how restorative and freeing it is to empty your head onto a piece of paper. Once you clear out that space, you can start thinking about what your mind and body need to recharge and rest.
Taking time to rest doesn’t necessarily mean doing nothing. Actually, doing literally nothing can be pretty stressful since all you have to think about when you’re doing nothing is what you aren’t doing. Relax your mind and keep it occupied at the same time by doing something creative. This could mean cracking open a new adult coloring book, trying your hand at weaving or crocheting, or just sketching out a few quick doodles.
Put Your Phone Down
I know this sounds cliche, but turning your phone off and spending time away from it can do wonders for your mental state. Mindlessly scrolling through social media often opens you up to comparing yourself to others and being exposed to toxic thoughts. Taking a break from being in those digital spaces is a great way to recharge your mind.
Plus, if you step away from your phone, you won’t feel compelled to constantly check in on and respond to emails, texts, and other notifications that will probably add to your stress. Putting the phone down for a while will give you the time and mental energy to focus on more positive and therapeutic activities.
Read A Book
There’s nothing quite like burying yourself in a good book and escaping into a different world. It’s one of the best ways to take a break and give your mind a rest. Reading still keeps your mind active and engaged, but it also kind of distracts you from your own thoughts and gives you something new to immerse yourself in.
Spend Some Time In Nature
Sometimes all you need to reset is a change of scenery. Depending on where you live, you can do tons of different outdoor activities to recharge your mind and body. I love going on hikes with my husband and taking my pups to the dog park now and then when I need a break. You could also walk a trail, ride your bike, or maybe even chill in your backyard.
Whenever I’m spending time in nature, I try to make sure that I’m really paying attention to and appreciating my surroundings. Listening to the birds, watching the clouds go by, and soaking up the sunshine are great grounding practices that will help clear your mind and energize your soul.
Take A Nap
This seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Taking a nap (or two, or three…) might be exactly what your mind and body need to recharge. You shouldn’t feel like taking a nap during the day means you’re lazy. It just means that you’re taking care of yourself and acknowledging that you need rest. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with curling up on your couch with a big, fuzzy blanket and having a snooze session.
Meditating looks different for everyone— it doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in the middle of an empty room with your legs crossed saying, “Ohm.” For some people, meditating means sitting on a park bench or on your back porch and practicing intentional thinking. Regardless of the method, meditating is a great way to rest your mind and gain a new sense of clarity and focus.
I recommend either downloading a meditation app or searching for guided meditations on YouTube if you’re just getting started. Try out a few techniques and see which ones work best for you.
Conclusion: It’s Important To Prioritize Resting And Recharging
It’s easy to spend your free time trying to hustle and be as productive as possible, but you really should take a step back and relax when you can. Intentionally engaging in restful activities will boost your mental and physical health, and you’ll definitely thank yourself for it later.