In our society, we tend to focus on things that can be quantified, such as how much money we have, how big our house is and where we are on the corporate ladder. Things that cannot easily be measured, such as the importance of health, are often placed at a lesser ‘value’. That is, until you get sick and stressed.
Our society encourages, praises and rewards people who work harder and longer hours, with less breaks, especially in the corporate sector. But these kinds of lifestyles have added stress and pressure which take a toll on the body and can lead to burnout. Working longer hours also means you will have less time for cooking healthy meals, getting more rest, sleep and exercise, all vital for excellent health. Any long hours of work, whether physical or mental, without adequate rest; stresses the body and leads to health problems. Stress is a major cause of disease in the Western world. Sadly, death caused by working extreme hours is becoming more common in some countries like Japan.
They literally work themselves to death!
I myself experienced adrenal burnout some years ago. After accumulated mental stress, worrying, over-thinking and not giving myself enough mental breaks, I collapsed one day. That was a wake-up call I needed to change my lifestyle, health, habits and thinking patterns. Over-thinking things and worrying about the small things which many people do, is not worth it and stresses the mind and body whether you’re aware of it or not.
Stress affects the body in many ways including:
- Causes a release of stress hormones like cortisol into the body which activates the fight or flight response and increases temporary energy production at the expense of processes that are not required for immediate survival. Today with our fast-paced lifestyles and ongoing stress, most people’s bodies are constantly pumping out cortisol and running in fight or flight mode, which leads to exhaustion and illness.
- Causes inflammation in the body.
- Inhibits the digestive system causing the stomach to produce less hydrochloric acid, which is needed to properly digest food. So people don’t get enough nutrients from their food leading to deficiencies.
- Causes nutrients and minerals to be depleted from the body.
- Leads to many health problems like a headache, fatigue, anxiety, depression, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Here are some important things you should do every day to better mental and physical health:
1. Enjoy your me time
It’s important to have time to yourself each day without the distractions, influences of others and pressures of modern day society. Quiet time helps you to refocus and get in touch with your true feelings, thoughts and intuition. Go for a walk, do some meditation and deep breathing every day. Meditation is very helpful for health, healing, mental and spiritual development. Make a time to do it such as before breakfast and stick to it. Scheduling time for yourself every day is the best way to make it a habit.
2. Spend quality time with family and friends.
Over-working and busy lifestyles is becoming more common but often it is the family time that suffers. This can cause a strain on relationships, marriages and children. It also teaches children unhealthy work habits and leads to workaholic tendencies. Spending time with family is good for mental health and happiness. Engage in conversation with your partner and kids. Ask them about their day. Tell them stories from your experiences and relate to how they are feeling and what they are going through at the very moment. Make sure they know you’re there for them. Your kids will grow up quickly before you even realise. Embrace them as kids. Spend time teaching things that can help them grow up to be successful adults. They would love you for that.
3. Get adequate sleep and rest.
People underestimate the value of going to bed early and getting at least eight hours of sleep. Sleep is the time when the body and mind heal and regenerates promoting healthier cells, organ and brain function, better mood, energy and a more youthful look. Many people think of resting as physical rest. However, it’s important to give the mind a break from intellectual activities and focusing for long periods. Unhealthy thinking patterns, attitudes, negativity and worrying drain energy and are a type of stress on the body. Over time these are detrimental to health.
4. Enjoy nature and the outdoors.
Fresh air, oxygen and sunshine are very healing for the body. Nature walks are linked to enhanced mental health and positivity, as well as significantly lower levels of depression and feelings of stress. It’s important to take regular breaks to prevent ‘mental fatigue’. Take a walk outside on your lunch break during workdays to prevent this. Enjoy simple things in life, embrace the moment and live life to the fullest. Simple things like walking your dog, playing with your kids outside or having a picnic with your partner can add more value and importance to your life.