Life is busy isn’t it.
It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life whether it’s work or kids or keeping up with friends. Being busy is part of our culture and taking time to do nothing but relax is not.
That’s a generalisation but if you ever feel like you do not have the time to take a break then you are not alone. What we are not taught in life is about the cost on our health of filling our time and always being busy. I was as guilty as anyone else for thinking that health came from effort and the more effort the better.
Two sides to health
That is until I realised that health has two sides.
- The first side is when you do something like exercise and challenge the body as a signal for it to grow or you eat and provide nutrients that it needs. This step puts the body out of balance.
- The second side is less obvious but just as important and often more so. This involves supporting the processes of the body in recovering from the first step by restoring balance
If you think about it you will notice that recovery processes in life happen when you do nothing. Sleeping being the most obvious but relaxing is a good second. If you dig further into the chemistry and physiology of the body you will find that thousands of processes are designed to operate during these quiet times to tidy up and fix the body.
This is because it is during the quiet times that your body can be certain that it will not be needed for anything strenuous so repair and recovery work can be done. During busy times your body is focused on delivering the requirements asked of it so only during downtime can it focus on these recovery tasks.
To put this into perspective let me give you a practical example from our holiday in Weymouth several years ago. It was the first day and I had just spent the morning packing the car and driving for 3 hours so I was exhausted and needed a break. It was a family holiday so I left mummy to unpack while I took our little one out to let off some steam.
I did what any parent does and let the situation do much of the work for me. I found a spot for my boy to play which took the pressure off me to entertain him. This sounds like lazy parenting but after a long morning, this is exactly what I needed because I needed to relax and unwind with gentle movements while our little one was raring to go and needed to let out all his energy after being couped up all morning and having a long sleep.
It is easy to think that standing or sitting and enjoying the view means you are doing nothing until you learn that your body is never really still. At all times a human being is actively working and adapting to the situation with the difference being what is being asked of you at that time. For me and for my boy the demands on us have been different and I used this time to let our bodies recover their balance a little by applying a little of the homeostatic magic our bodies rely on.
Restoring our bodies
For me, I had spent the morning focused on driving, plans and packing so my brain had been active and focused. While my body had done some little activities while loading and unloading the car it had generally been stuck in a driving position which is not good for it for any length of time.
So while I enjoyed the view my body was taking advantage of being stretched out allowing blood and nutrients to flow more freely and the period beforehand of exploration encouraged energy to flow around my body again.
The body has so many thousands of chemical reactions being performed in all its cells that regular gentle movement is imperative to keep these reactions stocked up with the necessary nutrients so they can work optimally. A gentle stroll after a long drive is a great way to help start the recovery process.
Take a moment for yourself
You have heard my example so now I challenge you to have a think about how you can take a moment today to let your body cover. Let me know in the comments below what you did and how it felt. I look forward to seeing what ideas you come up with.
Thanks for stopping by. If you liked this summary and want to learn more about improving your health then visit Day 1 of our holiday in Weymouth to read the full details