The last part of Tips to Improve Newsletters series will continue next time. Two reasons for skipping this week. First and foremost, I’ve been glued to the keyboard for months with very little time-off, and I need a break. Two, it’s Memorial Day. Yesterday, the hubby and I cruised around the lakes and through tree-lined backroads on our new HD Heritage Softail Classic—a well needed respite among nature. We plan to continue that ride today.
Here’s a pic of our new baby…
Time off benefits us for many reasons. When we break from our usual routine, we can no longer operate on autopilot. That decreased familiarity flips a switch in our brain to be more fully present, to really wake up. Meditation has a similar effect. Thus, taking time off increases mindfulness and produces a higher level of wellbeing.
Time away from the keyboard also improves heart health. It can help reduce the risk for metabolic syndrome—a cluster of health issues including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess belly fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels—which raises the risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, according to Forbes. In fact, researchers found that in those who vacationed and/or took time off on a regular basis were less likely to die from heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
Time off reduces stress. When we’re stressed, our bodies release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, chronic stress increases our risk for health issues.
Another scientific study found that spending at least two hours per week in natural environments—parks, forests, beaches, lakes—is not only great for our soul, it’s also good for our health.
Taking time off improves the capacity to learn. When the brain is fully relaxed, it consolidates knowledge and brainpower.
“Neuroscience is so clear, through PET scans and MRIs, that the ‘aha’ moments comes when you’re in a relaxed state of mind.”
—Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time
Hence why some of our best ideas come while we’re in the shower, on a walk, or as we’re falling asleep. In fact, a professor at Columbia Business School has conducted numerous studies, drawing a link between travel and creativity.
“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections…”
—Adam Galinsky, Columbia Business School
Sleep is a commodity many of us struggle with, evident in the comments of Steve’s recent post. Stress lowers sleep quality—wake up groggy and/or suffers from a lack of energy. But taking time off to read, take a walk, or other activities can lower your stress levels. Thus, induces a better night’s sleep.
If you’re overwhelmed or cognizant that your body needs rest, take what Psychological Therapist Kate Chartres calls a “duvet day.”
“Having a duvet day replenishes your stocks. Finding the time to switch off the mind…and stop that internal chatter allows your anxious mind to repair… You’ve all heard about how our muscles need to rest. We don’t work the same ones every day, so they have time to repair. The mind needs time too, to rest and repair. This enables you to be better, more responsive, and focus on your return to work.
So, if you are feeling frazzled and in need of that duvet day, but you keep going, the chances are you’ll get more and more frazzled, less and less focused, less able to do your job. When we have too much going on, our concentration and ability to use initiative, judgement etc., are all affected. So, can you afford to pull a sickie? I think the question is to look after your mental health, can you afford not to?”
Happy Memorial Day, TKZers!
Be kind to yourself today. I’ll be around in the morning, then we’re off on another adventure. But don’t let that stop you from having fun in the comments.
What’s your favorite form of R&R? Any plans today?
To our military men and women: Thank you for your service. <3