Overtired and Cranky is the name of my favorite bubble bath. (It’s by California Baby if you want to take a peek.) The name is the reason I bought it – it made me laugh! And it was true. I was overtired and cranky. And I desperately needed a few days off. Who knew bubble bath could remind me of the importance of taking time off?
When was the last time you took a few days off from work or school? Or even one day? It’s hard, right? And it’s especially hard now as we are all trying to manage our entire world from home – when does the work day or the school day really start and really end? We get into the rhythm of getting things done and it’s hard to walk away. Or, if your situation is anything like mine before I left state government, after a few days off you come back to 300 emails and it feels more stressful and overwhelming to take the time off than if you had just stayed at work. There is always a reason to stay and work harder and longer. Just because we can justify it doesn’t mean it is in our best interest. Time away from our work and school responsibilities impacts every aspect of our health – mind, body and spirit.
Even if you love your job you are going to have stressful days and situations. Have you ever noticed that with increasing stress, you may get more focused and creative but then you hit a wall and nothing comes easily? Coming up with new ideas is harder. Finding some calm and laughter in the day is harder. Getting through a meeting, live or virtual, without being a little grumpy is harder. Seeing the good in even little accidents is impossible. Our minds are stressed and that turns off our creativity. For ladies, it also impacts our ability to listen to our intuition. I will even argue that the more we work the more automated we become and we lose the ability to both feel and express our emotions, which is one of the biggest stressors in our culture.
Another Trip to the Doctor?
I talk a lot about the impact of stress here at Grace Integrative Medicine and the impact on our physical body. The current estimate is that up to 90% of primary care visits are stress-related. That, my friends, is HUGE! Among other things, stress causes inflammation. Both stress and inflammation have a purpose in the body so the goal is not to completely get rid of them, but most of us have too much of both and they cause big problems. They are a cause of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety. And that’s the short list. Don’t forget that stress decreases your sleep quality and quantity!
Lost Perspective and Purpose
When we’re stressed, our focus turns to our own struggles and frustrations. Frankly, we become more self-centered. We lose perspective and the ability to see what is going on around us. Spiritual health is based in our belief that our life is meaningful and has purpose; that we are connected to those around us. When all we’re seeing is our own challenging situation, we lose that connectedness. We think we have to conquer our mountains alone instead of asking for help and we may start to believe that we have nothing left to give to others.
Pick Your Day Off
How would having one day a week designated as “No Work” change things for you? What difference would it make for those people and causes you love? One day a week doing the things you enjoy with those you love can strengthen relationships, communication and make the following six days a lot easier to navigate. One day off will increase your creativity and your ability to listen to others and to yourself. One day off every week is a great start to decreasing inflammation in your body – spend the day outside or laughing at silly movies or participating in your favorite joyful movement or hobby. One day every week connecting with a cause for which you have a great deal of passion and helping it move forward reminds you that you do have a bigger purpose in this world and can help create change. That’s pretty impressive for just one day!
Here’s your chance to start a new self-care habit – What is going to be your “No Work” day? If you want a little accountability, head over to Facebook and share your newly designated day.
Is maximizing your health through self-care an interest of yours? Me, too! I put together a guide with my seven favorite easy and (mostly) free self-care activities that you can start today to get you feeling better tomorrow. Get your copy by hitting that button right down there. You can let me know what you think of it over on Facebook – just search @gracemedstudio.