The importance of taking time out

I can't wait to be hurtling through that clear blue sky.

I can’t wait to be hurtling through that clear blue sky.

You guys, GUESS WHAT? I’m going to Hawaii! (Queue internal happy dancing.)

Only three more sleeps before I’m on my way. I can’t wait. This trip is long overdue. I haven’t taken a holiday that is purely for recharging my batteries since, well, ever.

Sure, I take holidays but they’re always packed from start to finish with activities. I have this  compulsion to get the most out of every minute because I know I’ll only be on holiday for such a short time. I stress myself out in my pursuit of planning the perfect holiday. Have you met my friend, Counter Productive? We’re tight. Anyway, this time I’m doing things differently. My holiday will be all about sitting on the beach, reading, catching up on sleep and maybe a bit of shopping and hiking. Oh and eating incredible food, of course.

So much of my day-to-day life is lived at full speed that I really struggle to put on the brakes unless I have physically removed myself from my regular setting. You too? This is not an ideal way to live and I am very aware of that but whenever I start trying to address it, I freak out about the seemingly insurmountable task before me. What do I cut out? Which of my friends should I see less of? Should work, study or my blog suffer? Can I survive on less sleep (clearly, for anyone who knows me, this one is rhetorical. I need my sleep.)? I’ve well and truly thrown it in the too-hard basket for the moment. Instead, I’ve decided to take smaller breaks more often because I know it is so important to rest.

Here are my top three reasons why I think taking time out from your regular schedule is critical for your wellbeing:

  1. You will be more productive. This seems counterintuitive but it’s not. If you’ve ever pushed through the point of exhaustion because you need to finish a task, and then realised the next day that you made a tonne of errors while doing it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. There’s a reason why companies give us an annual leave allowance. Study after study has shown that employees who use their annual leave are more productive, happier and healthier employees than those who don’t. So, leave the guilt behind when you board that plane!
  2. You need some sun. The sun is not something we should fear. Of course, I’m not advocating lying for hours in the sun until your skin blisters but that big ol’ ball of fire plays a hugely overlooked role in our health and wellbeing. We are a nation of vitamin D deficient people and it is causing us myriad issues, including depression (explains a bit about our office-working depressed society, right!). The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun. And you need to get out there without sunscreen covering every inch of your skin to get the benefits. (Sunscreen is incredibly toxic but that’s a topic for another time.) Spending just 20 minutes in the sun will give you your daily dose of vitamin D.
  3. You need to get grounded. We spend most of our lives in high-rise buildings and in shoes, completely detached from the earth. This is a relatively new way of living and it isn’t doing us any good. We need to ditch the shoes, or sit on the ground, and connect with the earth to absorb negative ions. These guys help us counterbalance the toxins in modern life and they help reduce inflammation. Remember: inflammation = illness.

On that note, I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next week so that I can live my message. I’ll be back next week to share my top tips for staying healthy while travelling.

Aloha!

Laura

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