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Why a little downtime is good for us

The elation we feel when we’ve achieved something – such as a goal or ambition we’ve set for ourselves, or perhaps had a big breakthrough - can sometimes be accompanied by a period of feeling a bit down afterwards. Why is that and what can we do about it?

I see this as a period of transition. Going from the highs of aiming for, and achieving something, to settling back into the hum drum of life can make us to feel a little unsure what to do with ourselves and being unsure of where to turn next. Many people, during a pause between achievements or even a big shock that happens in life, begin to wonder what it's all about is. But these feelings are common and strike everyone from time to time. It's partly because human beings are active creatures–we feel at our best when we are working on a project or vigorously pursuing a goal and it’s all going well.

Yet what we forget to tell ourselves, is that there is nothing inherently wrong with spending a day, a week, or even a month (and in my own experience, it can be a year or more) simply existing and not having a plan. Just being, putting one step in front of the other. There's often a fear that there’s nothing to live for during this period. But then, something shifts and you'll realise you're onto something new - and there begins another voyage of growth and discovery.

The quiet lull into we which we fall between ideas, projects, and goals can make life seem empty. After accomplishing one objective, you may want to move immediately on to the next. However, when your next step is unclear, you may feel frustrated, disconnected, or even experience a mild depression. You may even perceive your lack of forward momentum as an indicator of imminent stagnation. To calm these distressing thoughts, try to accept that if your intent is personal growth, you will continue to grow as an individual whether striving for a specific objective or not. Spending time immersed in life’s rigours and pleasures can be a cathartic experience that gives you the time you need to think about what you have recently gone through and leisurely contemplate what you wish to do next. You may also find that in simply being and going through the motions of everyday life, you reconnect with your priorities in a very organic, unforced way.

This pause can take many forms. For some, it can be a period of reflection that helps them understand how their life has unfolded. For others, it can be a period of adjustment, where new values based on recent changes are integrated into daily life. Just because you’re not heading swiftly to a final destination doesn’t mean you should assume that you’ve lost your drive. The stage between life’s journeys and adventures can become a wonderful period of relaxation that prepares you for the path that eveals itself to you – assuming you choose to listen.

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