Summer Downtime: Get in Touch with Yourself

Home >

Summer Downtime: Get in Touch with Yourself
by Helen Edelman August 10, 2016

By Greg Stapleton, Director of Classroom Enrichment

My grandmother had a saying, “Idle hands are the hands of the Devil.” Despite this, she still took time every day to sit by herself and pray. Now, we call this mental downtime – time where she would sit and become more in touch with who she was as a person.

I enjoy sitting in a quiet room, focused only on the air going in and out of my lungs. Feeling every molecule of oxygen, my lungs expanding and contracting, that oxygen going into my bloodstream and that blood moving through my body. Being that in touch with such a simple thing allows me to stay calm, focused and happy the rest of the day. In fact, it’s better than going to the gym or a run for me.

Dylan came to me the other day and said simply, “Daddy I need some alone time.” And, with that, he walked upstairs and spent time alone in his room. I’m not sure exactly what he did, but that mental downtime allowed him to have a great rest of the day. The circle continues, even my son needs time to himself.

We often overlook the need for mental downtime. These three examples don’t make us a perfect family. But, I hope they show that without mental downtime, we’re unable to be patient, kind or calm. Without that focus on the moment, we lose ourselves and start to become unhappy people – and unhappy people are less likely to want to make the world a better place.

In the end, I would challenge you to take time today for some mental downtime. Just 10 minutes each day can help you keep focus on other tasks. And, tell us about it. Share how you enjoy your mental downtime with us on our Facebook page –

Times Union - Edited and written by Helen Edelman

LiveSmart supports the Classroom Enrichment Fund at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and is made possible by donations from St. Peter’s Health Partners and Price Chopper, with promotional services provided by the Times Union and WNYT/NewsChannel 13. LiveSmart is compiled by Helen Susan Edelman, Project Director. This project ensures 70,000 students and teachers in the Capital Region have equal access to news content during the school year.