I recently I read about the concept of the “Healthy Mind Platter” created by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. David Rock. This concept discusses the components of an integrated lifestyle as the product of a balance of time within seven different areas. The image of a “platter” in the Healthy Mind Platter is supposed to invoke similarity to the food groups from the Canada food guide that we should base our diets around.
As our time in quarantine has led to drastic changes in our schedules and priorities it may be an interesting opportunity to assess our pre-COVID, current, and ideal disbursement of time within these seven categories and ask ourselves if any changes are needed.
Here are each of the seven domains that Siegel and Rock present as important components to a healthy lifestyle:
This domain is filled with goal-oriented tasks that provide challenge and lead to the development of deep connections in the brain. This category is likely filled with professional, educational and achievement related tasks.
Playtime is something that perhaps has changed a lot since quarantine. This is time dedicated to exploring creative, fun and new activities. Siegel and Rock discuss this time as being important for the development of new connections in the brain. Whether it be painting, making puzzles or playing board games it is all play time.
By spending time socializing and connecting with those around us we activate and reinforce the relational circuitry in our brain. Calling or Zooming with loved ones are both included in Connecting Time.
Physical Time is any time where we engage our bodies in physical activity and exercise. Dancing, workouts, walks and runs are all part of this category.
Time In is the domain allocated for activities of self reflection, meditation and mindful awareness of our personal sensations and experience. In this category we are connecting to our internal selves.
Down Time is when we allow ourselves to relax and decompress. During this time we allow our brains to not focus on any specific tasks or goals. This is the time that we need to refuel ourselves after a long day and simply enjoy some TV on the couch.
Simply sleeping is necessary to consolidate learning and memory, recharge our bodies and rest. Many of us could likely benefit from more sleep.
After learning about these seven different categories I thought about which domains I spend most of my time in. This led to the realization that I need to spend more of my day participating in Time In activities. I hypothesize that many of us participate in more Down Time rather than Time In activities, or simply lump these two categories together in our brains. However, Time In is active reflection and awareness whereas Down Time is passive relaxation. Perhaps if I spent more of my day in Time In activities I would feel more refuelled than if I had spent that time watching Netflix.
You do not need to spend your time equally in each of these domains, it is obvious that most of us spend more of our day in Focus Time than in Play Time. But each domain has value. What is important rather is that we chose our time spent in each domain with thought and intention so that it is aligned with our values and goals.
Where do you spend most of your time? Are there any of the seven categories that you feel you should be giving more attention to?
Let us know in the comments below or on our social platforms.
If you would like to read more about the Healthy Mind Platter CLICK HERE.
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Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.
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