Taking a few moments to decompress after a long work day is needed. But at what point does “me time” turn into time wasted? Most of us have lives that follow some form of routine. Routines are good when they work for us. However, if we tend to describe ourselves as constantly “busy,” but are hitting the pillow each night feeling that we haven’t been all that productive, we might be in a rut.
Ruts develop over time, and the bad news is that we will never get that time back. Ruts are defined as “long deep tracks made by the repeated passage of the wheels of vehicles.” Ruts exist for a reason. Ruts give us some form of traction (stability), but they don’t lead us anywhere new. When we are made tired by our routines, and in return spend a few hours every evening “decompressing” on the couch or in bed, what are we actually accomplishing? Do we feel better after this time has passed? Are we adding to our overall well-being, or stealing opportunities to get better in some way? If the point is to recharge or replenish our energy, how is that accomplished by doing nothing for an extended period of time? We a car is idling, its engine is running, but the car isn’t going anywhere. It’s wasting fuel. When we’re binge watching Netflix or scrolling Instagram, we’re idle. Our engines are running, but we’re going nowhere. We’re expending energy without purpose. That’s a formula for adding stress, not relieving it! For there is always somewhere more valuable to place our energy to improve our lives rather than into passively consuming. The creators of the content we consume put their energy into something for the sole purpose for us to mindlessly consume, and disguise it as entertainment. That form of consumption is vampiric. We cannot replenish our energy through energy already spent by others. There’s a difference between “time well spent” and “time, well, spent”.