For many people, relaxation is a low priority on the ‘to-do’ list. One reason why people don’t prioritise rest and relaxation is that they struggle to see the value in it. Rather than seeing relaxation as an investment, they see it as a ‘distraction’ from their goals. The pressures of modern life push them to remain productive and actively trying to achieve more. The problem with this approach is that it’s very short sighted. In the long run, unmanaged stress can lead to decreased motivation, illness and burnout, which ultimately takes us further from our goals.
Taking time out allows us to recharge, so that we can perform at our best when we need to. In this way, it actually promotes high achievement. To use a metaphor, think about owning a car. If you run your car without taking care of it, it will eventually break down. However, if you give the car fuel, change the tyres, and service the engine, it’s likely to function well. In fact, it will get you from A to B faster and more efficiently. Our bodies and minds are no different, they need to be looked after in order to perform well.
Relaxation helps the body regain balance and is linked to other benefits, including:
- Enhanced creativity
- Better sleep
- Lowered fatigue
- Improved immune functioning (less illness)
- Improved concentration and focus
- Improved learning and memory
- Improved mood
- Clarity in decision making
- Reduced muscle tension and chronic pain
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced anger and frustration
- Feelings of calm and wellbeing
As you can see, there’s a long list of reasons to prioritise rest and relaxation! All of these benefits have flow on effects to other aspects of life, whether it be at work, in your studies, or in relationships. So next time you hesitate about taking some time out for yourself, remember that you’re making a long-term investment in your health. Returning to the car metaphor, you need to fill up your own tank if you want to complete the journey of life comfortably and in good time.