R & R – We all need it!

In this crazy 24/7 life we live in, we often forget to need to take some time off to really let yourself get some well-deserved rest and relaxation.  We tend not to do this because we are on autopilot, juggling all of the plates thinking we can do it all.  In this week’s blog post, I am giving you a Doctor’s order to allow yourself time to get adequate sleep, be peaceful and do absolutely nothing. Sound crazy?  Well, I used to think I wouldn’t be able to literally “do nothing” but now I can without feeling guilty about it. 

Here’s 5 Health Benefits of R & R

1). Restful sleep allows your body to replenish during the night during the REM sleep phases of the sleep cycle.  Without this restorative sleep, your body will feel sluggish and tired.  Think of an empty gas tank – if you don’t fill it up, your car won’t run – this holds true for your body too.

2) Improves mood: By relaxing, healthy neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which create a sense of peace and comfort.  This improves your mood leading to decreased depression and anxiety.

3) Gets your mojo going: Ever returned from an incredibly relaxing vacation and felt ready to take on the world?  That’s a little R & R can do for you.

4) Improves focus: Studies have shown that 15 minutes of daily meditation or a few minutes of deep breathing helps our brains to focus and improves concentration.

5) Feel more connected with friends and family: Vacations and times off allow us to bond with our family members, friends or make new acquaintances.  This leads to release of oxytocin, the calming and bonding hormone, making us feel peaceful and secure.

This past week, I followed my own medical advice and went on an amazing week-long vacation to Cozumel, Mexico.  Isla Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island and is located on the western Caribbean, 12 miles off of the coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula with crystal clear turquoise waters, stunning white sand beaches and incredible snorkeling.  Having the “all-inclusive” aspect with the resort didn’t hurt either and I soon adapted to the concept of being pampered and served, with no worry about meals, drinks or where to go.  

 

Yes, we all may not be able to take a week-long vacation (although you need to!), here are some other simple ways to fit some R & R into your life.

  1. Connect with nature – go on a walk on the beach or hike in the mountains.  Breathe in the crisp air and feel the wind on your skin. Allow all of your senses to take in the experience.

  2. Take a “spa-day”- Schedule a massage at a local spa and take the afternoon off.  Allow yourself to indulge in the experience of receiving and not doing, allowing your muscles to relax and brain to disengage.

  3. Schedule a week-end getaway- This doesn’t have to break the bank – keep it simple with going to local sites, maybe an hour or two from your home.   The goal is to extract yourself from the stressful environment with its never-ending “to-do” list and let yourself relax.  

There you have it!  A Doctor’s order to take time for R & R – start today!

In health and happiness,

Dr. Diana