By Shefa Ali
Since corona times, life for many of us seems to have become extra stressed. This week I want to remind you that switching off and taking time out can be a game changer for stress levels. Please remember, it is ok to do that!
In today’s world, it is considered to be cool to be busy all the time and lazy if you take time out. I think the concept of ‘hustle’ is really overrated. There is so much expectation on both women and men and we continually expect our fragile bodies to keep going and to keep performing. We work too hard, we rush too much, we exercise too much but we sleep too little and we don’t rest enough. Burnout, chronic fatigue, depression and other illnesses are sadly too common.
Sleep is absolutely crucial for a healthy body. The amount of sleep we need differs from person to person but generally, the optimum amount is about 7 to 8 hours each night. Many of us don’t get the optimum number of hours of sleep in order for our body to restore itself because we pack so much into our days. The affect of this is that our bodies begin to run down, our immune systems become compromised and we become susceptible to illness.
It’s also important to take a day or two off each week from our crazy schedules. Our bodies and mind need time to repair themselves. A tired mind is also less productive and we are more susceptible to emotional issues such as depression when we are mentally and emotionally drained. A day off doesn’t have to be spent lying in bed, gentle yoga or a slow walk outdoors are restful activities.
Relaxing is surprisingly difficult for a lot of people. When I first started yoga and my teacher would ask me to relax at the end of the class, I used to really struggle with being able to do it. If you find it hard to relax try this simple exercise; before you go to bed in the evening, make time to lie down on a mat, close your eyes and just breathe. With each exhale breathe out any tension which you hold either physically, mentally or emotionally. Do this for at least 5 minutes, focus only on your breathing. Over time this exercise should become easier and you will hopefully start to feel more relaxed. Be kind to yourself and take some time out.
* The author is a consultant and coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa, Website: missshefa.com
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