Want to do something super supportive of good health? What if I told you there was something you could do that involves no deprivation and would not only make you feel wonderful but also improve your health? “Sign me up right now!”, you scream! Ok, great! I want you to close your e-mail, hide your smartphone, put your textbooks away, get someone to watch the kids and….
You still with me? Great because this is the good part.
I want you to take some time each day to unwind and relax. This could mean lighting candles, taking a bath, journaling, meditating, reading a book or whatever else allows you to center yourself and de-stress.
Hello? HELLO? Is anybody there?
Gosh, why when I mention taking a little time each day for down-time does everybody leave the room? Relaxation has gotten a bad rap these days. It is often equated with being slothful, selfish, lazy and worse. Leisure time is as vital to your health and well being as eating vegetables, running on the treadmill or reducing sweets!
What happens if you decide not to charge your smartphone? It eventually dies right? And your computer? I bet when you don’t use it after a certain amount of time, it eventually goes into sleep mode. What about the electricity in your house? I imagine you don’t run every high powered electric device at once or you will soon be in the basement looking for the fuse box.
We realize our electronics have limits, but we refuse to believe that our bodies do too. Running non-stop elevates our stress hormones. We can exist without outward repercussion for a period of time in this inflamed, elevated state. This fools us into thinking that there isn’t a negative consequence to this lifestyle. We tell ourselves, we are fine, we feel fine and even though we are teetering on the brink, we don’t yet have tangible signals of the combustive tension building up in our internal organs.
Then one day it happens. We get a small sign that something is amiss. Maybe we gain 10 pounds, maybe we have trouble falling asleep, or perhaps we have a little indigestion. The imbalance and inflammation in our bodies is trying to give us a clue…which unfortunately we don’t have time for because we have a deadline. Skip ahead about five years, and now we’ve gained fifty pounds, or gone weeks without a good nights sleep or have full blown IBS. And all these negative side affects of too much stress feeds back into the inflammation and hormonal imbalance that is making us feel crappy in the first place.
Taking leisure time isn’t a luxury. It is an essential piece of the health and weight-loss puzzle. Constant pressure and stress is as toxic to our bodies as eating at McDonalds on a daily basis.
Not convinced? Here are some added benefits of leisure time. It allows your clients to have the best and most capable you. It allows you to work faster in the office. It makes you more cheerful and patient at home. It will make you healthier and potentially allow you to live longer to be with everyone who cares about you.
Yes, there are situations like being a single parent that make finding time for you much more demanding. Take whatever time you can. If you can only find 10 minutes at a time, that will have to work for the moment. Just make sure to find it.
The crazy thing is, after you try it, you might actually find you like it. So what do you do daily to relax?