Right To Relax
There’s no need to feel guilty about relaxing. Relaxation is absolutely necessary for our health and well-being.
By Scott Leslie
These are remarkable times we live in. As a whole, Canadians are living an average of 82 years – 20 years longer than our ancestors did back in the 1940s. Even serious medical issues like cancer and heart disease aren’t the automatic death sentences they once were 20 or 30 years ago.
With so many of us living longer, more comfortable lives than ever before, why do so many of us feel stressed out and run down? It’s a complicated issue to be sure. But studies are increasingly showing that much of our malaise can be attributed to the pitfalls of living in the modern world.
With the 24-hour reach of the internet, we now live in a multi-tasking, workaholic environment where the constant bombardment of information and demands have become commonplace. To make matters worse, we often don’t take the time to relax which can be detrimental to our health and lead to debilitating issues like stress, depression and insomnia.
Fortunately, there are many ways for us to “chill out” and wean ourselves from the effects of our overstimulated world. Most people can’t control the hours they work – or the potential stress in their work environment. But let’s look at what you can control.
Wondering when you can possibly find a moment to relax? Consider this… Back in the 1800s, communities were small and it wasn’t unusual for people to walk a few blocks to their place of work. Unfortunately, this is the exception now rather than the norm with many of us spending an average of half an hour or more commuting to work. However, this time can be a great opportunity to recharge your batteries. If you can manage it, try turning off the radio and other mobile devices during your commute time.
Commuting in silence is actually something that’s starting to catch on. GO Transit for instance has bowed to public pressure by offering low volume sections on its rush hour routes where riders must refrain from using loud devices so others can work or sleep. These “Quiet Zones” have already been hugely successful in places like Sweden, France and New Jersey.
“Phone It Down”
These days, digital devices are leading to everything from “texting neck” to disrupted sleeping patterns to increased eye strain. A recent study found the average person checks their smartphone an average of 45 to 110 times a day! What better reason to avoid the distractions of email and Instagram and “phone it down” on occasion?
There are several ways to accomplish this… Turning off all sounds and app alerts, changing the colours on your phone to grayscale or (God forbid!) leaving your phone at home altogether are just a few.
Get Away From It All
Okay. You might not be able to take three weeks off for that vacation in Maui. But there is one way you can “get away from it all” whenever you want without spending a dime – and that’s meditation. Meditation basically involves deep breathing while staying focused on a single thought or object. Studies show that people can benefit significantly from meditating for five minutes a day. The benefits of meditation include everything from lower blood pressure to reduced stress to enhanced immunity.
A Right To Relax
There’s no need to feel guilty about relaxing in this manner. Relaxation is absolutely necessary for our health and well-being and enables us to be our best each day. It also makes us more productive – whether it’s on a professional or personal level.
So don’t just stand there. Listen to your body…and relax!