Needing Downtime

One of my realizations a while back was my need for downtime.  Time to read, relax, and stare at the walls.  Or if it’s nice out, watch the grass grow.

I told this to my cousin shortly after, telling him that while I probably had the time to do it all, I didn’t have the mental or physical energy to do it all.  He laughed and said he had the same problem.  We just couldn’t go and go anymore.

This was one of those weekends.  It had been coming on all week.  While I was productive at work, I struggled with it.  I wasn’t productive at night after work, although I managed to get a few posts onto my blog.

So this was a weekend off.  My favorite boy toy and I did a few errands yesterday, then I spent the afternoon reading and napping.  Last night, more reading.  Today, more reading.  It was fun and I enjoyed going through some new books and some unread magazines.  I didn’t exercise, clean, or write.  I didn’t go to the botanical gardens to walk and the only pictures I took were from my back deck.

Downtime is so undervalued in our culture.  I particularly feel for parents who still have children at home (that do not drive).  The activities with school, sports, and band are fierce.  There’s never free time and what free time exists is taken up with groceries, homework, and mowing the yard.

I found it hard to keep that all up when my daughter was little and I had only one child!  I also think it’s gotten worse over the years with traveling teams and non-stop practices.  Everything got more competitive and family time got left behind.

I’m ready to go back to work on Monday.  My resting and relaxing has helped me feel more energized and more willing to be productive.

Here’s some of what I read this weekend:

  • The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch.

    David was married five years when he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism.  This diagnosis explained a lot of problems and behaviors he had.  David didn’t use it as an excuse, but rather as a way of understanding what he needed to change to be a better husband and father.  It was difficult and David doesn’t gloss over his shortcomings, but he did eventually turn his life around along with his relationships.I highly recommend this book.

  • Double Booked for Death by Ali Brandon.  Amazon had this brief description:

    “As the new owners of Pettistone’s Fine Books, Darla Pettistone is determined to prove herself a worthy successor to her late great-aunt Dee…and equally determined to outwit Hamlet, the smarter-than-thou cat she inherited along with the shop. Darla’s first store event is a real coup: the hottest bestselling author of the moment is holding a signing there. But when the author meets an untimely end during the event, it’s ruled an accident-until Hamlet digs up a clue that seems to indicate otherwise…” 
    This book was okay, but after reading the first 100 pages and the last 50, I didn’t bother reading anything in-between.  I didn’t really care about the steps to the solution.

  • Success Secrets of Sherlock Holmes: Life Lessons from the Master Detective by David Acord.
    I really liked this book!  Arthur Conan Doyle was an accomplished physician himself and many of the characteristics that he gave to Holmes and Watson were from his own friends and teachers.  Here is some of what Amazon lists that the author goes into:

    “Not only does Acord give unique insights into the character of Sherlock Holmes and his creator, but you’ll also discover:

    • How to cultivate a passion for definite and exact knowledge that will help you achieve your goals faster than you thought possible
    • Why focusing on the little things is one of the most overlooked keys to success
    • The value to knowing what other people don’t know
    • Why you should step up and take credit (death to modesty!)
    • The importance of admiring your enemy
    • Why we should all have friends in low places”

    I’ve been working my way through the Sherlock Holmes books and have enjoyed them more with the new insights into the characters.

  • How to Be Remarkable by Colin Wright.  Good book, but not much new in it.
  • The Happiness Manifesto by Nic Marks.  I’d accidentally bought this (clicked the wrong button), but kept it to read.  It was okay, but not what I was looking for.  Nic writes about the need for nations and people to work together to nurture well-being.  He goes over the history of how our culture has declined in well-being and how the gross national product, a measurement of money, did not tell enough of the story.

I also started reading Emotional Equations by Chip Conley.  I’m not real far into it, but am liking it so far.  Although using equations might seem simplistic for explaining life to ourselves, it has a real appeal in being easy to use and remember.  The chapters go into different aspects of happiness and emotional behavior.

One dog in particular made it clear that I should have been on the couch with him and not at sitting at the table:

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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at

14 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Downtime is so important especially in the winter when your body needs the rest. Really pleased you managed to take the time out for yourself and impressed with the amount of reading.

    It is a shame that families don’t have enough time together now because there are so many other pulls on their time. It is so important!

    Hope your dog got his turn too ;-)

    • Thanks Lou!

      It’s really hard for families to get enough time together. I think it’s a further fracturing of families with all the demands on their time.

      And yes, the dog eventually got his turn too :)

  2. Wow, you managed to get a LOT of reading done. Glad you recognized the need for downtime and took advantage of the opportunity.

  3. So glad you gave yourself permission for some downtime. We all need to do that once in awhile to recharge our batteries. I am not very good at it but my husband takes me out for a coffee/tea each weekend day so I actually stop for a bit. Otherwise I would just keep going and going until I dropped! Guess he wants me around for awhile.

    • I really think it is part of why things are such a mess. We’re always surprised to be the only ones in our neighborhood on the weekends. It makes the backyard nice and quiet for us.

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