I haven’t got time to relax – really? Have you got time not to? Something I hear from my clients way too often!

The irony is, you can work out 5x a week and eat the most healthy nutritious food, but if you have high-stress levels and you keep telling yourself you don’t have time to relax, well then over time you’re going to hit a wall and reach burnout, taking a toll on your physical and mental health!

Being able to relax and allowing yourself alone time or some form of quiet time is a fundamental ingredient to achieving optimal performance and health. If you are someone who finds it hard to relax, you may have noticed that everything you do can start to feel overwhelming and become a struggle. Relaxation in whatever form suits you provides the mind-body integration necessary for peak performance.

So why don’t we make more time for this?

Whatever you may do to relax, whether it’s reading a book for 10 mins, having a bath, enjoying a walk with a friend, hitting your yoga mat, or having a coffee whilst reading your favourite magazine, it’s important to remember that frequently doing something that helps you feel calm gets your mind clear and your body tension free allowing us to regain focus and to cool down, helping us return to a balanced physical state. Relaxation is vital for a healthy mind and is required to maintain motivation and interest in our lives and careers, but the problem is we just forget to do it until it’s too late!

What’s happening to our health in the background?

Not being able to relax and unwind can silently be damaging your health in more ways than one. Even when there are huge demands on your life, you may have a large family, an important career, and a home to run amongst your other weekly commitments – but it is still necessary to find your own time and space to relax.

When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, it becomes even more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate, or irritable for no good reason, for example. But chronic stress causes wear and tear on your body, too.

The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that come with it can disrupt almost all of your body’s processes.

How stress affects your health! American Physcological Assosiation (https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/health)

It’s recommended that we take twenty minutes a day, to unwind, and calm the mind, but if you’re reading this and thinking that is just not realistically possible, then it’s important to realise that whatever amount of time you do manage to get, will be beneficial to your mind and body, even if not immediately noticeable.

When time is short there are a number of things you can do: reading, writing, listening to some music, baking, or just sitting quietly. Committing to consistently doing one relaxing thing a day, even if it’s for 10 mins a day, will do wonders for your mind and body. As I always say, consistency is key!

Invest in your health!

As a Life Coach and Nutritional Health Coach, I have worked with numerous people with issues relating to relaxation and stress, etc. It’s interesting that initially many of my clients find it difficult to slow down or see the benefits of taking more time out. They usually want to change their diet but want to ignore the high-stress levels and the damage that their fast pace lives are having on them. However, after a few weeks and a couple of life coaching sessions focused on this area, plus a bit of commitment on their part, most of my clients learn to change their ways and wax lyrical about the benefits to their lives.

What are those benefits?

Some of the common benefits of relaxation are:

  1. It improves your ability to concentrate. It will help you in your ability to tune out distractions and give you better sensory awareness.
  2. It improves body awareness; you need to know when you are under or overdoing it.
  3. It speeds up healing time following an injury and fatigue, the body needs to recover fully if it’s going to perform at an optimal level in the near future.
  4. Learning is enhanced, and it is much easier to introduce new thoughts and ideas when your mind is clear and you are relaxed. Skills are best learned when you are in a relaxed state and there is an absence of tension.
  5. It helps you sleep better
  6. You become more efficient!
  7. It puts your focus back on the present and gives you a sense of control
  8. It increases energy levels

If you don’t take the time to unwind and relax regularly, you might be putting not only your own health and well-being at risk but also that of others as well.

In relation to your responsibility to the health and safety of others; we only have to think of driving a car, or operating machinery, and how our ability to do these tasks diminishes when we are tense, tired, and stressed. So in fact our responsibility to relax is not just for our own sake but also for that of others too.

When it comes to our own health and emotional well-being if we don’t make time to relax regularly, without realising it we are putting our health and mental health at risk of failure, and this is when burnout can happen which I mentioned earlier!

Some of the effects of lack of relaxation are below:

  1. Headaches, common ones being tension headaches and migraines. Controlling tension and relaxing can help with migraines. Tension headaches are susceptible by definition to treatment by relaxation.
  2. Chronic fatigue, your body is in a total state of fatigue. You suffer from a total lack of energy and motivation all of the time.
  3. Cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure, and heart disease, heart attack.
  4. Gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach ulcers as well as indigestion and heartburn.
  5. A poor immune system, becoming susceptible to illness.

Early warning signs that we need to have a break and relax are:

• Frequent Yawning/sighing (always tired)
• Lack of concentration (brain fog)
• Feeling the urge to stretch and move about (like you are stuck)
• General drop in performance
• Feelings of stress and irritability

If we are aware of the signs and take notice of them and take a break etc, we could avoid a lot of stress and fatigue, we will be more rational and focused, better equipped to carry on, and be far healthier in mind and body.

If we spend a lifetime ignoring the signs of burnout this could impact heavily, not only our health, well-being, and happiness but also those around us. Relationships could suffer as well as your career. On a personal note, the consequences of not taking time to relax over a lifetime could mean you pay the ultimate price, which is what we of course do not want to happen!

You say you don’t have time to relax. I say you don’t have time either!

You are your own best resource; you need to take time to nurture and look after yourself. Investing in yourself will be one of the best choices you could make! Trust me, I’m talking from experience of making my own lifestyle changes and working with hundreds of clients over the years, I’ve seen the transformations and the difference investing in your health can make.

With love, Nicole xx

Send me an email to find out more about the programs I offer: nicole@mindfullivingbynicole.com

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