How To Use Your Downtime To Your Advantage

Rest is an essential part of our overall wellbeing, but should it consist entirely of binge-watching and doom scrolling?

Melissa G
6 min readFeb 20


Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Everybody needs down time. Despite the many “successful” improvement gurus out there that live to grind nearly every minute of every day, it’s true. Your body and mind are not machines. They are not built to be constantly working all day every day.

Before I get into this, I want to clarify that it is completely okay to watch a TV show every now and then that has nothing to do with any of your goals or growth whatsoever, or to scroll through random memes on social media just for the laughs of it in your own time. That in itself, I believe, is a kind thing to do for yourself every now and then and so is not inherently bad. After all, it is your own time.

However, what if you do these things possibly a little too much sometimes? What if you some days get off work and don’t have the energy to do anything else necessarily “productive” for the rest of the day? What if this alone brings you a slight tinge of guilt and shame because you feel as if you’re doing absolutely nothing for your own personal growth?

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Do not fret so. It your mind and body are tired, sometimes it’s okay to just let them be tired.

Don’t get me wrong, if this tiredness gets to the point of affecting your everyday life and responsibilities, there may be an underlying issue such as depression. In this case seeking professional help would be beneficial. Speaking from personal experience, this also requires more inner healing and sometimes just doing it tired. Work out tired, write tired, clean tired, well you get it. This is easier said than done, I know, but just remember the first time is almost always the hardest. Once it becomes more of a habit it then becomes more automatic and less difficult.

Still, what if it really is just during your relaxing time, yet you can’t seem to get that grindset out of your head? What if you still can’t shake that underlying feeling of shame for partaking in your guilty pleasures in almost any available free time?

It’s time to switch up your downtime.

How to Transform Your Downtime

To help you better understand how to transform your downtime, we need to first know what we are transforming it from.

In a world growing ever more attached to screens, for many (at least in my experience) these things play a big part in our downtime.

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For me, I used to use my screens exclusively to take part in this type of entertainment:

  • Watch funny commentary, gaming, or the latest celebrity gossip YouTube videos
  • Scroll through Facebook or Instagram to keep up with people I’ve barely spoken to in ages
  • Read the news or Twitter to keep up-to-date on some of the latest happenings in the world
  • Listen to chilling crime podcasts because they are just so horribly intriguing
  • Doom scrolling through TikTok for hours on end

Doing only these things during my free time led to most of it being gone within the blink of an eye and me being left to wonder why I wasted all of that time on such useless things, even if I knew I was too tired at the time to necessarily create or actually do something “productive”.

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So what are some other more beneficial yet still “leisurely” activities we can use to slowly minimize these unproductive habits?

Every person is different and so the “good” and “easy” habits may slightly differ for everyone. In order to help you better understand which ones would be best for you, though, I’ve comprised a list of some of my own:

  • I try to limit my time on TikTok as it is the most addicting, but when I do scroll for a bit, my algorithm is mostly psychology, cleaning/organizing, gentle parenting, and overall inspiring growth content.
  • Reading motivational articles on Medium as well as my self improvement books.
  • As you may be able to guess, I enjoy YouTube videos centered around personal and spiritual growth as well as overall psychology and the workings of the human mind.
  • Listening to psychology and self improvement podcasts or audio books with deeper meanings and life lessons.
  • Pushing myself to not only like/comment/support other peoples posts on medias but to also become more inclined to post my own content, as I am doing now. Sometimes this itself can also be tiring, I know – but hey! I’m still laying down doing it!

You may still be lost on what exactly these things would be for you if you’re not as interested in these specific subjects.

To make it easier for yourself, create and consistently add to a list of “productive” entertainment that applies to your life values and goals. This can be anything, but make sure it’s something. From psychology, to cooking, to music, anything! You can refer to this list when thinking of what exactly to watch/read, which will make the switch from your normal habits much easier when the time comes.

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Anytime somebody suggests a good psychology book or podcast, I jot it down on my list for my relaxing time later. For somebody else who’s passion happens to be art, they would do this for any books, YouTube videos, or TikToks centered around this subject: tutorials, tips and techniques, references, tools and the like.

Such changes may seem pointless or minuscule, yet these small changes to your everyday life have the power to change everything. All you need is the patience and consistency to see these changes come to fruition.

Like a pawn in a chess set, while some may overlook such a small part of the game, these little pieces have the power to change the game entirely.

Think about this. Slowly begin to apply it to your life in the ways you see fit and notice how it changes your everyday habits and overall motivation. I promise it won’t hurt. The sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the benefits of such good habits.

The sooner you will realize that you can use almost anything to your advantage.

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In conclusion, everybody needs down time. It is necessary for us as human beings in order to be able to function properly. It is a crucial part of living a healthier and happier life.

However, if you’re anything like me and tend to feel guilt even during your relaxing periods, you may want to switch up your downtime.

You could do this by making a change from the possibly brain-numbing entertainment to something more fulfilling and beneficial instead. Whatever these activities would be depends on you and your own personal goals and values in the end.

On that note, I will leave you with a quote:

“Every minute of your time is either spent helping or hurting your chance for the victory you are seeking in your life. Each minute can be an investment.” — Lisa Kardos



Melissa G

Wannabe Writer. I like to talk about life, fulfillment, money, relationships, health, and just about anything else I find of importance for improvement.