Relaxing, in reality, is productive. Relaxing allows us to actually be more productive when we need to be because we aren’t pushing ourselves to the brink of mental fatigue. Relaxation has been shown time and time again to help reduce the effects of stress by slowing down many functions of the body that can break down after prolonged use. Relaxation can improve our mental health, including depression and anxiety.
I went on vacation this week for the first time all year. Normally I give myself a break like mid year. That wasn’t the case this year. I literally burned myself out. I think this was the first time I realized how important it is to take time out. A lot of us have good intentions. We try to take time out for ourselves, but nothing seems to work. You just can’t find the right formula. Why is it so hard? Maybe it’s because we get caught up in our obligations and become disconnected from what we find pleasurable. Or perhaps we’re so busy ensuring other people’s happiness that we forget what we need ourselves.
I read a post on HuffPost that stated; “Can we start taking as good care of ourselves as we take of our smartphones? Think about it: We rush to charge our devices when their batteries dip below 20 percent but rarely do we acknowledge when our internal batteries are running on low.” It’s hard sometimes to admit that our self-care isn’t up to par but it is imperative to we are being self-aware and acknowledge when it’s time to give ourselves a break. Here are a few ways you can practice self care.
Take one three-day vacation every three months, and during that time, refrain from doing any work. Do not attempt to catch up on even a few small things. If you do, you keep your mental gears in motion, and you end up neither resting nor properly doing work of any quality.
Every year it’s my goal to take one big trip with friends and family and then a smaller trip where all I do is lay on the beach and eat good food and of course have a good adult beverage. Often time we plan vacations that have a jam-packed schedule and we end up needing a vacation from our vacation. We have to also include vacations that consist of doing absolutely nothing.
We should all try to take at least two full weeks off each year during which we do nothing that is work-related. You can either work or relax; you cannot do both. The truth is if you attempt to do a little work while you are on vacation, you never give your mental and emotional batteries a chance to recharge. You’ll come back from your vacation just as tired as you were when you left.
Give Yourself a Break Today
If you are involved in a difficult relationship, or situation at work that is emotionally draining, discipline yourself to take a complete break from it at least one day per week. Put the concern out of your mind. Refuse to think about it. Don’t continually discuss it, make telephone calls about it or replay the scenarios over and over in your mind. You cannot perform at your best mentally if you are emotionally preoccupied with a person or situation. You have to give yourself a break.
Eat Lighter Foods
Yeah I know, when you think relaxing you think grabbing your favorite bag of chips and cuddling up for a good Netflix movie. I know I do. I love chips!! However, it’s good to note that the process of digestion consumes an enormous amount of physical energy. Therefore, if you eat lighter foods, you will feel better and more refreshed afterward. If you eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products, your digestive system will require far less energy to process them.
Since your diet has such an impact on your level of physical energy, and through it your levels of mental and emotional energy, the more conscious you are about what you put into your mouth, the better you will feel and the more productive you will be.
Call to Action Exercises
In an attempt to make sure we try a little harder today than we did yesterday I found these tips that will offer a starting point. Here are three things you can do immediately to put the above ideas into action:
- Treat yourself like you would a loved one. Think of one thing you’d do for someone really important to you in your life and take the time to do it for yourself. For instance, this might be anything from enjoying breakfast in bed to going out for lunch. Remember that when you treat yourself well, you’ll be that much better for everyone else in your life. With the busy lives, we all lead, not many of us give ourselves permission to spoil ourselves. This could mean different things to different women. If you’re time-pressed, maybe that means 30 minutes to yourself relaxing with a magazine, or maybe it’s taking an hour or two for a really decadent manicure/pedicure. Whatever it is, consider blocking out time in your calendar once a month to find that special pampering session that makes you feel groomed and good about yourself.
- Meditate -Taking time out each day to calm the mental noise in your head is one of the best things you can do to refresh your mind. From the minute you wake up to the moment you go to sleep your brain is chattering, and meditation is an excellent way of pausing this incessant mental activity.