The last two years have been nothing short of chaotic, but a silver lining has been a shift in prioritizing both physical and mental health. Selfcare is listed as one of the top priorities for Americans this year.
The traditional idea of “more is better” and #teamnodaysoff often lead to stress and burnout. By not giving yourself time to recharge, our bodies can become overwhelmed with stress—causing a fight or flight reaction—manifesting in impatience, reduced motivation, and an inability to focus.
Stress can manifest in two ways: internally and externally. Think of internal stress as the feelings of anticipation, negative thoughts, anger, or fear that cause you to tense up subconsciously. This can lead to headaches, an increased resting heart raise, higher blood pressure, an upset stomach, or trouble sleeping. External stress are things in the environment that cause similar disturbances like over-exercising, weather, family and friends, noise, air quality, and injuries. A combination of physical and internal stress can lead to poor overall health.
Taking time to refresh and recharge—through meditation, increased non-exercise activity, structured fitness, and pampering—can have several health benefits. Five to 10 minutes of daily mindfulness activity can positively affect work productivity, alertness, stress levels, memory, resting heart rate, blood pressure, and creativity. A few of my favorite mindfulness activities include breathing practices, meditating, writing, short walks, and gardening.
Vacations are also an opportunity to break out of our normal routines and the stresses associated with them. Whether it’s a solo weekend away or a weeklong vacation with loved ones, spending time in a new environment with your phone off is one of the best ways to be more effective, efficient, creative, and productive.
When we take care of ourselves, we create the opportunity to be better for others. Prioritizing small chunks of time for yourself will help you recharge so you can approach every day with a confident, positive attitude.