Mr A and I spent this past weekend away in Cumbria. As the weather was terrible on the Saturday we decided to stay indoors and just sit still for a day. We spent most of it reading and eating-Bliss! We could have stayed home and done that but sometimes you need to be away from your regular environment to totally switch off.
I see more and more clients who struggle to sleep, feel exhausted despite sleeping or they are regularly coming down with colds etc., but I also see them checking work emails at 9pm, or filling their free time with constant activity and never really switching their brain off. Even when they are sat still they are stimulating their brains, maybe scrolling through social media or watching a tense drama.
We live in a world that is constantly switched on and I think every day the news reports that more than ever people are struggling with depression, anxiety, extreme fatigue and insomnia. Many people also struggle with un-diagnosable conditions that maybe manifest as stomach issues, chronic headaches or constant muscle soreness etc. in short we are the result of a huge stress epidemic!
It has become part of our culture to always be busy, be connected online and always on the go. When do you take time to properly switch off? Unfortunately it is causing us some major health problems.
In order to give our brains and body a proper rest we need to switch it off and recharge.
We should try and give ourselves space to do this every day.
- How you start your day can have a big impact on how you function for the rest of it. For some people this is a morning mediation or yoga practice, maybe just sitting down for 10 minutes peace with your morning coffee or for me walking the dogs (or the morning zoom as it is referred to on my Instagram story).
- Throughout the day it is actually proven to make you more productive if you take regular breaks every 90 mins or so. So, solid 90mins at your PC focused on the important tasks with no distractions then take break to make a cup of tea –which you actually make time to drink! At lunch get outside for some fresh air-even 20 minutes will help. I always try to walk the dogs before I begin evening classes as it helps to shake off my afternoon spent at my laptop and refresh my brain and body.
- At least an hour before bed stop opening your emails and social media (turn notifications off if you have to) and instead of doing something stimulating make time to wind down your body and brain. Apps such as Headspace can take you through a guided meditation or Calm (I use this one) has bedtime stories read by the likes of Stephen Fry and Joanna Lumley to help you clear your mind and get ready to sleep.
You can do whatever works for you, basically whatever you find relaxing that switches your head of from the constant noise of the day. The simple act of switching off should form as big a part of your recipe for good health as your nutrition and exercise.