Our Wellness Blog

Spend Your Downtime How You Need It

Saying ‘no’ to fomo and work texts after-hours

This week’s wellness theme is appreciating downtime, such as in finding peace and value in not overbooking summer break. Today we are focusing on how to establish and maintain a healthy work-life balance to help prevent burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion. It is commonly caused by chronic stress. Someone who is burned out experiences difficulty keeping their mood and energy up, and struggles to meet daily demands. 

 

An important skill to improve your overall wellness is being able to separate different parts of your life. Having a work-life balance is about being present in the moment and only focusing on one aspect of your life at a time. Here are five steps you can take to maintain a healthy work-life balance and reduce your risk of burnout: 

  1. Set priorities, and schedule them into your day. School/work, exercise, dinner with friends, 8 hours of sleep… 
  2. Have at least one thing to look forward to every day. 
  3. Set boundaries (only work during working hours, turn off notifications when you’re not working, don’t text your coworkers after working hours – send them an email or something they’ll be more likely to respond to in the AM).
  4. Do you ever fill your free time by doing work? If you give yourself two hours of unstructured time, respect your personal time and stick to it. It’s not your time to get ahead, it’s your time to unwind. 
  5. Ask for help when you need it. This could look like asking your roommate for help with a chore, asking a professor for clarification on an assignment, or asking someone to go do a fun activity together. 

 

My work is my passion; I love what I do, so I strongly resonate with #3 – having something to look forward to. It enables me to find joy in other areas of my life. I look forward to doing yoga every evening because it makes me feel restored and grounded to the world. Virtual Recovery Yoga is a free, online resource to support all UD students in need of any kind of recovery, such as from stress. Yoga is a healthy way to use your downtime and unwind. Yoga promotes a work-life balance because you split your time between different aspects of life. 

 

Being mindful of your coworkers personal time is another critical way to maintain healthy relationships and workplace environments. It can be challenging not to read work-related texts and emails when I’m off the clock – especially if I’m on my phone, anyway. Being able to genuinely appreciate downtime is a skill that requires practice – having the willpower to resist the fear of missing out and deliberately allocating your time based on what’s in your best interest. 

 

That’s why we challenge you to select one of these 5 strategies to maintain a work-life balance and incorporate it into your daily or weekly routine! 

 

Follow @UDWellnessAmbassadors on Instagram and Facebook to learn about the past wellness themes, including: environmental, creative and tech wellness; incorporating fun and play in life, and surviving finals. 

Weekly Recap

After this week, students should be able to discuss how Generation Z has difficulty appreciating downtime – specifically, not constantly doing something productive, simply sitting and being. Students will be able to use at least one strategy to improve their ability to accept downtime.  

 

Appreciating downtime relates to career wellness because an occupationally well person strives to maintain a healthy work-life balance and pursue a career that supports their lifestyle. Practicing mindfulness is one strategy to wind down and better appreciate downtime. An emotionally well person strives to cultivate awareness, acceptance and management of a full range of thoughts, feelings and behaviors; therefore, practicing mindfulness may improve your emotional wellness because you shift your awareness to the present moment.

 

Students learned this past week how to wind down by using mindfulness, including “thought-counting” for 60 seconds and practicing guided candle meditation. There are various restorative activities to try during downtime, such as taking a 20 minute walk – keeping an eye out for the different dogs, birds or trees you see. Take an identification quiz after and see how much you’ve learned. In addition, students understood how Gen Z spends their time, and how that impacts their ability to “be” rather than “do” (pro tip: practice “being” by making cloud animals in the sky). Lastly, students learned how to fight off fomo and do something more productive to their current needs. 

 

Many students may use alcohol or drugs to help them unwind because they may not notice potential substance misuse. ScreenU is an online, anonymous and confidential screening tool that provides students with immediate, personalized feedback about their use of alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs. 

Works Cited

  1. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm
  2. https://lucid.me/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/lucid-work-life-balance.png

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