I’m training for a half marathon and moving house this month, I’m constantly on the go and am aware of the lack of down time in my schedule for the next few weeks! This got me thinking about how we plan our lives and how we focus on what we are doing and when we are doing things, and completely forget to plan our time out. The way we live our lives these days is all about time management, so when we have busy schedules maybe we need to plan our time out or time off? It can be very hard to relax when you are constantly on the go, it can take a concerted effort to let go and slow down, but living with this level of ‘GO’ can have a detrimental effect on our health and well-being.
Living life at speed, focused on work, running round after family, fitting in exercise etc means that we do everything with elevated stress levels. You might not feel stressed, you might thrive on the ‘buzz’ or even feel that you have no choice. However your physiological state is highly stimulated and flooded with hormones that are attempting to help you keep going. Unfortunately the down side is that our bodies are only meant to maintain this state for short periods of time. Think of it like a heating system that’s running on high water pressure: The system can keep going for so long, but eventually something will break or give way, the end result being a system that doesn’t work very well if at all. Our bodies burn out at best, (maybe adrenal fatigue, digestive issues, even sometimes depression, to name but a few), at worst there could be causing major long term health issues (like diabetes, high blood pressure, mental health issues, chronic fatigue). Our bodies can handle so much, they really are miraculous things, but if we don’t look after ourselves we can cause unnecessary and serious problems.
So what can we do about it? Life can be demanding, but the vast majority of us can find time or even make time for 5 mins of breathing practice or mindfulness at lunchtime. Maybe a walk at lunchtime, even just leaving your office space and finding somewhere else in the building for lunch can be sufficient to ‘take five’ from the pace and re group. Ideally finding 30 mins to relax in the morning and/or evening is perfect. Taking time out away from screens and stimulation promotes a calmer focus and better sleep patterns. Going for a gentle walk or spending time outside is fabulous for mental health and well being. Combining both or either of these with a gentle breathing based activity is one of the best ways to destress and reduce tension (simple yoga, meditation, even breathing exercises). You might find the that you’re too ‘pent up’ to relax, so look at your day and see if you can fit this time in after you’ve exercised.
Not having the time is a great excuse, but this is your life, and your body … make the time. You’re worth it!