Easing Stress with the Benefits of Time Out
If you are under constant pressure and demands, it’s important to take frequent time out to give your mind, body and spirit a chance to recover.
The idea of taking time out has been around for centuries, although until recently it was only the privileged few who had the opportunity to get away from it all. Most people worked at least six days a week with very little time off and holidays were an annual trip to the country or sea to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
A Holiday from Stress
Over the last 50 years, life has become much more hectic and complicated and at the same time it has become much more commonplace for people to take regular time off. Today, taking time out is not just about holidays, it’s also about finding time for relaxation; you can take time out for a nice lunch away from the office, a beauty treatment, a walk, a run or simply an escape to the bottom of the garden. Even a very short break will stop your stress levels from rising and return you to a more relaxed state, giving you the boost you need to get through the day. Why don’t you try escaping your daily stresses to a totally different time to give your systems a break – and a change?
How Time reduces Stress
Going from one stressful event to another during the day doesn’t give your body enough time to calm down. Your adrenaline and cortisol levels remain high, your energy reserves drain away and you become more prone to symptoms of stress, which include irritability, muscle tension, insomnia, palpitations and panic attacks.
Taking time out actually reduces the levels of stress chemicals in your body, increases levels of ‘happy’ brain chemicals, such as serotonin and endorphins, and slows your brain wave patterns. When you are relaxed, your heartbeat, metabolism, respiration and blood pressure slow down, your muscles are less tense and your digestion restarts.
Giving Yourself some Time Out
Sometimes all you need to relax is the time to take a few deep breaths, other times you need to escape! Either way, allowing yourself time out is the best way to keep stress-free.
Getting Away from it All
Few people take time off to simply do nothing, even though it’s unhealthy to be on the go all the time. It’s important to have time off every week when you have nothing planned. This isn’t being lazy, as your brain actually needs time to switch itself off and regenerate – without being asleep. When you rest completely during waking hours, your brain patterns reduce in frequency.
Watching television or reading a book can be very enjoyable, but activities like these don’t encourage deep relaxation as they are still stimulating your mind and can leave you feeling tired or listless for no apparent reason. Instead, try choosing somewhere you can simply sit and soak in the atmosphere.
No matter how much you love you family and friends, you need time on your own every day. This may involve going out for a walk by yourself, working out in the gym, having a massage or meditating. Time out is particularly important for new mothers, who have to deal with the demands of a young baby 24 hours a day. Everyone needs their own sanctuary to retreat to, a place where worries about work or home can be left behind. If you can’t get out easily, lock the bathroom door, put on some soft soothing music, run the bath and soak away your troubles for 20-30 minutes. Make sure everyone else in the household knows that this is your private time so that you can be sure there will be no interruptions.
Taking a Tea Break
You can’t maintain your concentration constantly, whether you’re working at home or in the office. In fact, your concentration goes down to zero after just 60 minutes. This is why you need to have a few minutes break every hour, enabling you to step away from the task at hand. This will rejuvenate your brain, giving it a chance to rest, ideally you should relax for at least five minutes every hour to stretch your legs and get your blood flowing.
Holidays and City Breaks
Sometimes you need to get away from it all for a longer period of time – a change of scenery can do wonders to rejuvenate a stressed mind. You don’t have to go away on your own to get the full benefits, but make sure that you still get time to yourself and be sure to leave any disputes at home where they belong. Not all holidays are rejuvenating, however: if you keep visiting the same places year after year holidays can become boring, so you may need to do something a bit more adventurous.