Do you know why games like reversi and solitare (and later minesweeper) have been included with the Windows operating systems? The short version is that Microsoft felt that a set amount of time playing games helped refocus the mind, so they deemed so much time per day for that effort. All studies aside, if you ask any normal Human out there, they’re likely to agree that some sort of “down-time” activity is important to their continued success (if not sanity).
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’re probably thinking that I’m going to recommend a certain book or pain-stick ritual to use for down time. WRONG! Each person has to pick their own down-time ritual. I will say this, though: TV and Facebook are not the right answers either. In fact, the reason Microsoft included strategy games (but not highly difficult ones) is that they stimulated a different area of the mind, and helped spark creativity.
This really is a very personal process, and you may not even know what works best for you, since you may not have tried the right down-time ritual yet. It could be the games mentioned above, it could be crosswords, Sudoku, or cryptographs. It could be light reading (fiction, readers digest, or Martha Stewart’s magazine). It could be…
I could make a list of over 100 activities, and still not stumble on to the one that will work for you (ice fishing?). The point is to remember to take a break from time-to-time, refresh yourself, and then…get back to work!