For when you want to recharge, but don’t want to up your screen time, try these restorative activities
Screentime is something that many of us are conscious about these days, and for good reason, with several studies finding a correlation between high amounts of screen time and poorer mental and physical health.
Realistically, screen time isn’t something we can (or, perhaps even should) aim to escape completely. For many, working on a device is a standard part of their job role, and our devices support our wellbeing in many ways – including ensuring that we can stay in touch with our loved ones when we need them the most.
Even so, being aware of how much time we’re spending with screens, and getting to know our relationships with them (for example, does our screentime tend to increase when we’re feeling lower? Or do we use it as a distraction or a procrastination technique?) is worth doing.
So, for times when you need a real break, when the pressures of the week have drained your energy, and you need to recharge with low-energy activities, try these:
Forget any ideas of musty boxes, missing pieces, and a flat, uninspiring photo of a cottage – modern puzzles are bursting with life and colour, and they still make the perfect companion for a recharging day in.
Picture this: you’ve made yourself a hot brew, put on the radio – or an audiobook or your favourite podcast – and the next hour or so is a time when you have just one job to do: put the pieces together.
Puzzles engage both the left (analytical) and the right (creative) side of the brain, which is why they can be such a great brain boost when you’re feeling a bit sluggish. Relax with an old faithful, or push the boat out with a new challenge – either way, settling down with this homey, quiet activity is a great tool for restoration.
Scrapbooking is an activity that supports us on two fronts. Firstly, we get that mindful boost from working with our hands, and staying in the moment. The page becomes a place where we can express ourselves creatively, and we can break our usual routines by creating something that feels authentic to who we are.
The second benefit comes from the things that scrapbooks offer us, specifically. You may choose to use the space to save memorabilia, taking a trip down memory lane as you go. Or you may instead use the space as a vision board, adding prompts of the things you want to achieve in the future. Looking for more inspiration? We’ve got a five-step guide to set you off on your scrapbooking journey.
Get creative in the kitchen
Whether you adore finding the perfect spice blend for a new dish, or if cakes and bread are more up your alley, it’s well documented that baking and cooking are great tools for supporting our mental health and wellbeing.
So, this weekend, why not push the boat out and try a completely new recipe? If you’re in need of inspiration, one thing you’re almost guaranteed to find in most charity shops is a good collection of cookbooks that you can pick up on the cheap.
Put on some soft jazz, switch on some mood lighting, and lose yourself in the art of cooking.
Watch nature put on a show
Sometimes, the best cinematic experiences aren’t happening in dark rooms. When was the last time you made a conscious effort to watch the sunrise or sunset? Now may be the time to pen this one in this weekend.
In fascinating research from psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of California, Dacher Keltner, it has been shown that feeling ‘awe’ can reduce stress, help us deal with our ‘inner critic’, and even influence us to act altruistically towards others.
So, set your alarm, and head out to higher ground. This is a show you won’t want to miss.