Downtime... something a lot of us don't take often enough, and for some, it can seem like a swear word. What do I mean by that? Well, for some - taking a break in the workday or a few weeks off work is perceived as being 'weak'. This is, of course, not true and is simply a result of society's conditioning. It is this kind of thinking that has, in part, led to the mental health crisis we are facing on a global level. Something that would help us all: is to relax more.
For this newsletter, I have chosen to focus on five important reasons to take downtime as these are crucial for good health to prevail. These were taken from my social media that recently covered this topic for a few weeks. (My new theme that is live is arthritis.)
1. Downtime is essential for social health.
Social health does not get enough attention, yet it is a big part of our daily lives: given that it is our relationships - both personally and professionally. Relationships of all kinds impact our health, but the key to making them have a positive impact on our lives is by taking responsibility for ourselves in them. As we cannot control others but we can try to show up in the relationship as much as possible with our best side. Exercising at midday (even during the working week), taking regular time off work and even taking a break from your significant other are just a few ways to help you destress and be your best self in your important relationships.
2. Downtime improves brain health.
It is no coincidence that when you take a break from your work, you complete the task much faster and easier when you return to it. This is because the brain can only soak up so much information at once - then it has to 'dry out a bit', similar to a sponge - according to Scott Bea, PsyD.
3. Downtime encourages weight loss.
When we take downtime, less stress hormones are produced - namely the hormone cortisol. Chronically elevated cortisol levels can cause a person to overeat, which can then cause weight gain as a result. So, if you are trying to achieve a healthier weight, just remember that it is not just important to pay attention to what you eat, but it is also important to pay attention to lowering stress levels on a daily basis also to achieve this goal.
4. Downtime in the sun can lower blood pressure.
If you have been in the sun recently and had high blood pressure, then it may have helped to lower it. According to GoodRX.com, people in a study that focused on those living with kidney failure and high blood pressure experienced lower blood pressure as a result of moderate sun exposure. However, remember to take good care whilst being in the sun, and a little of the sun's rays goes a long way!
5. Downtime is important every day.
Being on holiday is a state of mind: now we know this, we can start feeling the benefits of being on holiday every day! Fixed holidays are wonderful, where a person and often their family look forward to going away once, maybe twice a year. However, this kind of attitude can train us to think relaxation is a future reward only. By taking the time to do something de-stressing daily, for just 20 minutes even, you can begin to feel like you are on holiday and therefore happier and more relaxed daily. Interrupting those stress hormones is key to achieving this!
Are you finding it hard to switch off? There could be many reasons for this, including lack of downtime, but also nutritional deficiencies and other underlying health issues not being managed correctly can play a role. If this sounds like you and you would like to gain personalised help from a holistic perspective, then please send an email to me personally: firstname.lastname@example.org.