Southwest Floridians Schedule Downtime in an Uptime World
Dr. Zorayda Torres hiking with her family
In a world that moves at a maddening pace, adults that attempt to step back, breathe in the moment and sometimes do nothing generally may experience a nagging suspicion that they should be doing something more productive and valuable. The root of this pesky notion, which reaches across centuries, can be found in the Puritan work ethic. This concept in theology, sociology, economics and history, which preaches that hard work, discipline and frugality are the means to success and salvation, is not the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that our nation’s founding fathers endorsed. Frequently leading to burnout, the Puritan theory has been recently researched by mental health experts that have come to understand our serious need for cultivating a state of “being” with downtime.
Shifting from the conditioning of “doing” to “being” can be challenging for some individuals. Co-owner of the Naples Dog Center, Linda Nall, rarely does “nothing”. The professional dog groomer doesn’t find it rewarding or relaxing, saying, “In my downtime, I take dogs for free romps in open spaces and do research on their care and nutrition.” Enjoying a meal out with her husband, a picturesque car ride or a visit to a nature park is as close as Nall gets to nothing.
Lynn Thomas, a registered nurse and director of Concerned Health Alternatives, in Bonita Springs, admits that she doesn’t take downtime until she feels emotionally tired and physically drained. “Then I know its time to reboot, take a day for doing nothing, reading; going to the beach or doing self-hypnosis that puts me into a short, deep, relaxed state from which I return feeling refreshed,” says the certified hypnotherapist.
Doing nothing is important to Beth Brown-Rinella, owner of Goddess I AM Healing & Art Center in Naples. “I slow down, tune in and connect with my deeper self. Doing nothing helps my mind reset from active and full to quiet and contemplative. It also reminds me to step into nature and breathe in the beauty and serenity. Sometimes I veg out with a good book, take a long nap or watch movies. Other times, I go to galleries, artsy shops or out into nature, were my creativity is stimulated. Hanging out with my family, no matter what we do or don't do, is my favorite way to spend my time away from work,” says Brown-Rinella.
In caring for their own health, busy physicians such as Dr. Zorayda Torres, owner of Upstream Medical Consultants, in Bonita Springs, and Dr. Pamela Hughes, founder of the Hughes Center for Functional Medicine, in Naples, know the importance of downtime.
Torres is as comfortable doing nothing in her leisure hours as she is traveling with her family during school vacations. “Walking the beach alone or with my husband feels good. Reading outdoors on my recliner, dancing, watching movies and listening to music are also favorites. I am much more joyful when I have enough downtime,” advises Torres.
If doing nothing occurs on the beach, Hughes is a happy camper. Building sandcastles, walking on the beach listening to Christian music on her waterproof iPod nano, paddle boarding, taking tennis lessons and hanging out with her husband and son qualify as downtime for Hughes.
“In recent years, I’ve noticed that I’ve scheduled more time for me. The positive effects on my well-being are great, especially for my brain. Seeing patients throughout the day and studying to keep up with their unique needs requires time and mental energy. I try very hard not to do work on Saturdays and Sundays,” says Hughes.
Any good habit requires cultivation and repetition. As Southwest Floridians lose their guilt over scheduling downtime, they may discover the biggest reward—a rejuvenation of their life force.
Naples Dog Center & Salon, 630 Tamiami Tr. N., Naples. 239-530-3647. NaplesDogCenter.com.
Concerned Health Alternatives, 239-597-1328. HypnosisBasics.com.
Upstream Medical Consultants, PLLC, 27499 Riverview Center Blvd., Ste. 255, Bonita Springs. 239-444-5636. UpstreamMD.com.
Hughes Center for Functional Medicine, 800 Goodlette Rd. N., Ste. 270, Naples. 239-649-7400. HughesCenterNaples.com.Edit ModuleShow Tags