Time out

Nicola - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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In keeping with the theme of self-nurturing behaviour let’s take time out.  We work for longer now than ever before.  For some people not being productive or relaxing is considered a ‘waste of time’.  I remember a friend at university who said “plenty of time to rest when I am dead”.  Unfortunately too little rest and relaxation time will significantly shorten your life span.

Animals know how to relax and take a break- observe the very minimal time spent being stressed.  As hunter gathers humans also only ‘worked’ approximately 4-5 hours for food and shelter, and spent the rest of the time socialising, pursuing ‘hobbies’, relaxing and being with nature.  Humans did not evolve to be ‘on’ in top gear all the time.  Time ‘off’ is essential to our wellbeing- physical, mental, and brain health.  What happened to languid peaceful and enjoyable time with people we love?

Time off and out enables the body, brain and mind to return to rest-relax mode, parasympathetic nervous system.

Give yourself permission to do nothing for a while as it restores your wellbeing- and in case that thought is stressful because you have too much to do, research shows that after the break you will be more efficient and effective!

Day dream.  Let your mind change gears for a while and imagine or remember your favourite holiday- where were you? How did you feel? What could you see, hear, feel, touch…..build up a multi-sensory experience and enjoy being there.

Take a break! Literally take a walk around the block, have lunch outside, get your daily coffee from a new place so you go somewhere new.  Just do one thing differently or new.

Book regular holidays into your calendar.  You do not have to go anywhere but make sure you take time out- even adding one day to public holidays can be very effective.

Have a ‘pj day’.  Designate a day to stay in first gear, not fifth gear.  That may mean no chores and no work.  Relax with activities you enjoy – a picnic, walk, reading in the sun, swim, and leisurely catch up with friends or family – just stay in low gear all day.