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Down Time
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Everyone needs some down time. After all, we live in a high-stress world, and most of us are very busy people. We live with busy people, we work with busy people, and we are surrounded by busy people. But our bodies and our minds need rest, and we have to take control of our lives enough to make sure that we get it. A friend told me that we should “give ourselves permission” to take some down time, but sometimes I think we actually need to discipline ourselves to do that.

Well, whether you are already in the habit of taking some time to relax and recharge, or whether you are needing to begin, there are some important points to keep in mind in order to get the most benefit.

First, we need to understand that there is a great difference between entertainment and recreation. Entertainment usually involves being passive and taking in whatever form of amusement is happening. Examples of entertainment would be watching television or movies, watching a live production or maybe even being a spectator at a sporting event. Some forms of entertainment are better than others and good forms of entertainment may have their place. For the most part, however, entertainment does not involve much mental or physical interaction. Therefore, while we may be giving ourselves some physical relaxation, there is actually little genuine rest taking place since real rest to the body and mind comes not only from relaxation, but also from renewal.

Relaxation and Renewal

Recreation offers both relaxation and renewal. The root word being “re-create” indicates that the body and mind are being brought back to a fresh state. An obvious example of recreation is sports. Playing outdoor games in a friendly, non-violent atmosphere can be very rejuvenating to both the body and mind. Depressed individuals benefit greatly by getting physical, outdoor exercise in fresh air while entertainment tends to heighten the depression.

Aside from sporting activities, however, there are many other forms of recreation. Walking, especially with a partner, can be very good recreation. Gardening, making your own flower arrangements, and bicycling are great forms of recreation. I also enjoy motorcycling. From the back seat, that is!

Indoors, a wonderful form of recreation is board games! Playing games together exercises your mind and gives the added bonus of fun with family and friends. I repeatedly find that while I have to sometimes coax loved ones to play games, they usually end up laughing and enjoying it. If you are alone, puzzles and puzzle books can be recreational. Especially if the content is educational.

The possibilities for achieving valuable down time are endless once you define what things are entertaining and what things are recreational. It's really pretty simple. If your goal is to veg, then choose entertainment. If your goal is to rest your busy mind and body, choose recreation.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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