Category: Interviews

Artist of the month: Chuck Prophet:

Chuck Prophet’s “Leave the Window Open” ( a great new downtime song and one of the best I’ve ever heard)

I’m back from vacation. My wife Marsha and I have enjoyed the pleasures of New Orleans and also visited some of the city’s horrific history, namely slavery and hurricanes (Katrina). But I’m not going to use this space to rant about horrors. I’m going to talk with you about down time–the importance of time off, relaxation, getting away from it all to recharge emotional and physical batteries, to engage in activities that make all the work and struggle worthwhile. Here’s an article from Psychology  Today that describes the benefits of down time, the importance of vacations on our mental and physical health.

In addition to recharging your emotional and physical batteries, time away can help bring you and your loved ones closer. Marital relationships can be recharged. Relationships with family members– children, parents, grandparents– are more deeply bonded. And friendships can be solidified for a lifetime on some wonderful sojourn. Summer is traditionally a time for holidays around the world. (“Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy,” Billie Holiday https://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8jRgPcO7JQ). We all need some easy living and if you haven’t planned time off for a while think about it now. You don’t have to spend money on a fancy vacation to enjoy the benefits of downtime. Go to the beach, the park, or hang out in your yard, den, or in a local coffee shop. Walk around your town or city, take in a movie, become a tourist in your own area.

For some of us taking a vacation, allowing ourselves to engage in downtime, may not be so easy. Internalized admonitions against having fun, getting away from work, relaxing and resting may make downtime difficult if not impossible. Workaholic clients in my practice report feeling anxious or depressed when they are not in occupational battle. They cannot let got of phone, computer, or thoughts of work. Alcohol abuse, and other addictions are sometimes the only means of dulling the driving voice in the person’s head insisting that downtime is letting down and shouldn’t happen. Others have trouble taking time off because of traumas in childhood related to play and family outings. And for some avoiding a vacation with a partner is a way of avoiding intimacy.

Dr Ike wants to know about your downtime experiences. Can you  chill when necessary or is the retreat from responsibilities difficult for you? He’s here to help. So if you have issues with relaxation, freedom from work, and avoidance of  fun let him know.  Also if you do take care of yourself by getting away from it all, lets hear where you go and what you do. And, of course, vacation, summer, fun,travel and relaxation are the stuff rock ‘n’ roll and all music are made of. Just the act of listening to something you love can be your getaway. Dr. Ike will play what he loves. He’d loved to hear your music about the topic .

Here are some of Dr. Ike’s faves.

“Summer Days” Bob Dylan

“Shangri-La” ELO

“Going Down to Cuba” Jackson Browne

9 thoughts on “Downtime

  1. Hey I,
    For the first time in 33 years of marriage (ugh), my wife and I took a real vacation (reluctantly for me), brought about by our daughter taking a summer semester in Spain. We all went a week early to visit Madrid and Barcelona, before she headed off to Santiago de Compostela and we ventured on to France…just the two of us. Two whole weeks with just my wife to talk to. What a frightening prospect. Several things happened on this trip. For the first time, “I” did the research and planning for the entire trip. “I” planned what we did, where we went and when. Knowing and counseling us, only you know how significant that was. Secondly, having never been a fan of cities, museums and site seeing, I came to a true appreciation of Historic Art and Culture. I rode a bicycle down centuries-old streets and walked the hallowed sands of the Normandy beaches. I realized what is important in life and why. Surprisingly, I felt none of the chronic back pain I’ve suffered with my adult life; no knots between my shoulder blades and no depression. Lastly and most importantly, I re-connected with my wife. Being away from “our world” not only allowed us to connect on a fundamental level, but to truly decompress, de-stress, drop the “baggage” and hopefully provide the missing spark.

  2. Hello Dr. Ike and PNRR followers! Vacation is a wonderful subject. For me, it is not just the actual time away, but the researching and planning that I do to make my final decision as to my destination. Sometimes, no matter how well I studied up, things don’t go so well, but hey, that is all part of it, too. Who doesn’t have a vacation mishap story or two to share with friends? What always amazes me is how quickly the time passes when you are away. Wish work weeks zipped by me that fast! LOL. I love to travel this country by auto and so my fave song is “Get Your Kicks On Route 66.” Lots of folk recorded it over the years but Nat King Cole does it best I feel.

  3. Dear Dr. Ike: My wife follows your show each week and requested that I write to you today. She thinks there is something wrong with me because I don’t enjoy vacations. I need routines. When we go away there is generally speaking no structure because she wants to do whatever she feels like doing when she wakes up for the day. I need to know we have plan for the coming day or I can’t sleep at night. She says she needs to get away from routines and just chill. I guess I can understand her but only to a point because without a firm plan I feel queasy and off balance. Our marriage works well until vacation time comes around. What causes this? Thanks for listening.

    1. It’s hard to answer a question like “what causes this?” without knowing more about you. I will say that some people are so connected to their work they fear letting go of it for various reasons: afraid to miss something, fear that someone may take their job, internalized messages that it’s not okay to stop and relax. Ron check inside yourself and see if you can come up with your own explanation. Here’s “Take this job and shove it,” by Johnny Paycheck (funny right?) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCYApJtsyd0

  4. I started a new job this year and will not get any vacation time. I am allowed some sick time, however. I called in sick yesterday saying I had a stomach virus. Oh, I had a bug all right. I was sick of the phone ringing off the hook all day. Sick of the phone, the emails, the tweets, the facebook updates, the pinterest updates and on and on and on. Having been inspired by the song “No Phones” by Cake from their Wheels album, I turned off the volume of the landline, never went online and did not even turn on my cell phone. At first, I felt anxious about being disconnected, but after breakfast on the patio watching some birds bringing food to their nestlings, I saw things a little differently. There was beauty in watching them…and the clouds gently moving across my field of view…and the dogwood petals silently falling to the ground. I actually read a book from my mother’s library which I inherited. I liked turning the paper pages and using her hand tooled leather bookmark. She had the most interesting bookplates, too. I highly recommend this type of “stay-cation” to each of you who read this. That one little day recharged my batteries and I am ready to take on the next challenge at work. Please play “No Phones” for us. The sometimes cacophonous sounding music is perfectly suited to the lyrics!

  5. Hi Doc Ike, Topic is on target for me today. I have a lot of difficulty relaxing when I am on vacation. I flip the sound off the mobile but I constantly check it for updates. I feel as if I may miss an important call or piece of info shared by my workmates which would put me behind when I return from vacation. My employer does not restrict the number of hours we may spend in the office but we are required to take our vacation days. I am entitled to three weeks annually and I will tell you those three weeks are hell for me. Any suggestions as to how I can disconnect during vacation and relax would be supremely helpful to me.

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