Are you stressed? Lonely? Exhausted?
Or all of the above?
Yep, me too.
Taking time out can help you revitalise and restore your body. I have always loved the opportunity to relax, put my feet up and rest for intervals throughout my life. I find life as interval training. Sometimes you go hard and fast and other times you stop, relax and reflect. I find being still during intervals throughout my life is a proactive approach to ensuring that my mind, body and spirit stay well.
There are way too many unknown’s in life that can drag you under and make you feel like you are drowning. These life events can be a one-off circumstance that you find yourself in or it can be an ongoing problem in your life that doesn’t seem to get resolved. It could just be the day-to-day pressures of adulting that cause you to feel overwhelmed. Taking time out to revitalise and restore will help you feel like a new person. It may not take away the pain and the problem you are experiencing, it will however get you to a place in your mind, body and spirit that you can tackle these challenges you are facing with gusto when you return to your daily routines.
Having time out to revitalise and restore is imperative to helping our mind and body switch off from all these pressures. Working too much and not having enough down time to play or relax can cause anxiety and depression or exasperate it in someone who has an underlying mental illness. Too much work and no play is not how our bodies are wired to live. The fun factor in our life is an antidote to stress. We need to be proactive and not wait for our bodies to burn out before we choose to do something about it.
The bad news…
I am guilty of running for a glass of wine from time to time after a hard days work however this is a stimulate and wont help me relax in the long-term if it is my only go to quick fix. The same applies for someone who reaches for a cigarette, any alcohol or even drugs to chill out. These definitely help for a very quick amount of time however they are stimulants. A stimulant is a substance that raises levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body. That is what you and I should try to avoid, stimulants. We don’t wont to increase the nervous activity in our bodies, we want to decrease it. These stimulants unfortunately won’t help us to relax properly and fully. Not to mention they do have life long devastating effects if the use of these stimulants are prolonged. These unwanted effects include but are not limited to:
- Extreme weight loss
- Reduced sexual functioning
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Muscle deterioration
- Chronic exhaustion
- Cardiovascular damage
- Breathing problems
Drugs such as cannabis which can act as a depressant, can also make anyone that uses it to be paranoid and lose their ambition and drive. I don’t know about you but I want to have passion and drive in life and take life by the horns not be lazy and melancholy and lifeless.
Caffeine is another stimulant which accelerates the messages travelling between the brain and the body. We are trying to slow these messages down when we take time out not speed them up.
So when you take time out, chill. Do just that and nothing else.
The Good News…
There are plenty of ways to take time out and relax without the use of stimulants. Not one way will work for everyone. I am NOT a yoga person or a morning person (as my friends will confirm). That means you will not see me at 6:00 am walking to the gym with my yoga mat. I am however very good at cardio and love a good dance work out. I find that dancing not only brings me joy, it also helps with my overall fitness and health and reduces stress. Here are some other ways to take time out. Choose one or two that work for as a time out and practice them regularly:
Breathing and Mindfulness Meditation
When you focus on your breath, you are using your own inbuilt calming device. This is so exciting because it’s something that you do not have to spend money on and it really works; anywhere and at anytime. When you need to take time out and calm your body, you can take a long deep breath in through your nose, and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat this at least 10 times and see the difference. Focus on your breath. Choose to relate your breath to a colour, for example, when I breath in, I imagine the colour blue, this helps me feel calm and relaxed and then when I breath out, I imagine the colour red. This allows me to imagine all the negativity and harshness of life leave my body as I breath out ‘red hot air’.
I love to laugh at a good comedy show or a funny meme. I love laughing with friends and those dear to me or even just by myself. I have a very loud laugh so that sometimes is a good thing to just laugh by myself lol. Laughter is an amazing stress relief. It reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. Anyone can make space for more lighthearted comedy in their life and learn to be less serious about everything. It really is important to find one thing each day to laugh at. Use website and apps such as these to get you started:
Emerse yourself in nature
Walking on grass, sand or dirt for a short period of time each day, allows you to feel grounded to the earth. We have so much that is pulling us in all sorts of directions and when we choose to ground ourselves on earth, it brings us back to reality. I love the beach and use it as an anti-depressant and stress relief. Finding peace and harmony in nature is again a free and natural way to take time out and be proactive in guarding good mental health.
I would like to also mention that you should never feel guilty for taking time out. Time out allows us to reflect and recharge. It allows our tank to be filled up with petrol again. The energy that we allow our bodies to restore when we take time out sets us up for a successful combat against modern daily challenges. None of us are robots or perfect and we can not run on empty. Don’t feel sorry for putting your health and safety first by taking time out and doing nothing. It is vital if we are going to live a long, healthy and happy life.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” – God.