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Experiencing the Secrets of Downshifting

I have the privilege of having email correspondence with our local Blue Zones Project – Lake County team members. And every once in a while, I will get a reply to my email saying something like this, “I am currently out of the office for the day “downshifting” and look forward to reading your email Monday.” The words may vary in the email, but the message is clear. This individual is taking time away from work and spending time doing what gives them rest, joy, peace, socializing, or whatever it may be that meets their bigger needs at the moment. 

Does this mean my communication with them isn’t important? Not at all. We have a very productive working relationship where my time and needs are balanced with their world and well-being. And I have to be honest with you, I love it! I love it when someone tells me they are taking time for themselves. Do you know why? Because it tells me that when I do interact with them professionally, they will be offering a hundred percent of themselves to any given project or conversation. I will receive the very best they have to offer because they know how to downshift.

Here’s my personal experience in life with the Blue Zones Power 9 downshifting. Some of you have read my memoir and already know that I was raised in a conservative Seventh-day Adventist home. One thing that makes Seventh-day Adventists unique is that they take the Sabbath very seriously. From Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown, they unplug, and what they do on that day is just as important as the day itself. Now, every home is a little bit different, but one thing is for sure: no work is involved on the Sabbath. It’s a day to rest. So, the idea of downshifting has never been foreign to me. But I can tell you from experience that one day of rest doesn’t always make up for the stressful six other days of the week.

Take my job, for example. I haven’t had an actual vacation in six years. The reason for that is simple: The Bloom never goes on vacation. That is the reality of running a paper: the newsletter must go out on Friday every week of the year. And let me tell you what–I love what I do, but it is one of the disadvantages of my job. My solution? Take lots of downshifting time whenever I can. If I can take a day off and not check email because I’m doing something that I love, such as a day at the ocean, wine tasting with friends, or just spending time with family, I prioritize it as much as I possibly can. And the temptation to check email is always there. So, I will deliberately go somewhere without cell phone reception, so it’s impossible for me to “work.” 

The other thing I do is find the magic in any given moment. It might be only a few seconds that a butterfly catches my eye. It might be something funny that happens that ignites a belly laugh, and I laugh until tears roll down my face. It might be scheduling lunch or a coffee date with a friend, and I enjoy that moment. I have come to realize that the moments in between the doing are a bigger part of living than a title that goes with our name on a business card. 

Life is short, my friends, and it takes very little research and time online to read how healthy it is to rest. In fact, according to Blue Zones, you can actually reverse disease by downshifting. And in a world that never stops, it is essential that you and I make time to downshift. And I don’t know about you, but my motivation isn’t to see how long I can live, but how much I enjoyed living the years I have here on earth. What good is it to live to a hundred birthdays when all you did was work, work, work? 

Whatever downshifting is to you, I hope you make it every bit as important as the food you eat and the “work” you do because it’s just as important. So here’s to making many happy memories today, tomorrow, and every day we can, whether reading a good book, spending time with friends, sleeping, or meditating. Whatever floats your boat into downshifting, just do that. And if you haven’t prioritized downshifting in your life, it’s never too late to start! 

Cheers to the journey, my friends!

Trudy Wakefield

Trudy is the owner and editor for The Bloom. The Bloom's dedicated to showcasing all the good parts of life. If it's good news, you'll probably find it here.

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