Corinne Austin | Personal Training

Holidays are great for one’s Health

Like many others, I too am back to reality this week.  That means re-establishment of routines, settling alarm clocks, writing task lists, and getting
back into the rush that seems to be the norm of modern life.


For the first time ever in my full-time work career I took three weeks of holiday over the festive season.  And boy was it a treat!!  I’m hooked!  There’s no going back for me now!


Like many other self-employed people, it’s hard to entirely let go of work for three weeks – there’s always one eye half open to emails that seep in, or areas that need development while business has shut down.  But nonetheless, compared to the rush of normal life, holidays are a walk in the park.


And they (holidays) are essential to our ongoing health and vitality.  It’s not until you have a break from work – or even better, venture away on an aeroplane to another destination – that you realise how much you need it.  As we go through our typical groundhog days where we become a tight little ball of stress, chaos, and pressure, and where we suffer from some form of ‘there’s not enough time’, it’s easy to forget how to be calm, present, and whole-heartedly relaxed.  And many of us are unaware of just how much harm the ‘rush’ is doing to our bodies.


The mere fact that we are rushing, that we feel the endless need to rush, and that there’s always a never-ending to-do list on our case causes us instant
stress.  And given that this rush is the norm these days, it means that our bodies are under constant stress.  Unfortunately our bodies weren’t designed to cope with non-stop ‘fight or flight’ responses.  And although you may be too wired most of the time to recognise the symptoms, the effect that this constant stress has on our bodies is incredibly harmful – and at worst can lead to serious Adrenal Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I shan’t mention the effect it also has on things like productivity and focus at work, moods, sleep, relationships, and just general enjoyment of life.


How do we combat the rush?  How do we slow down?  How do we get our lives back?  There’s three million dollar questions right there.


In all honesty, it comes back to basics.  I spent my holiday spread amongst various books trying to find the answer to how we can avoid the rush and how we can live a more enjoyable day-to-day life.  My reading and investigation came to the following conclusions about living a ‘no rush’ life:


–          Breathing – take five to ten minutes every day where you can find a nice quiet, distraction-free zone.  Lie on your back, place your hands on your tummy, close your eyes, and complete 20 big deep breaths.  Fill the lungs and expand the rib cage.  Beautiful big inhalations and exhalations.  Focus on nothing but breathing effectively.  Breathing correctly is the ONLY way that you can communicate to your body that you are not stressed, and therefore not in danger.

–          Sleeping – get an absolute minimum of 7 hours sleep a night. Where it’s possible – go for 8 hours.  Sleeping is essential to all our body functions, and helps to reduce the stress hormones.

–          Say NO – you weren’t put on this planet to be superman or superwoman.  You don’t have to say ‘yes’ all the time.  Work can wait, as can the housework.

–          Down time – Plan some down time, daily.  This is non-negotiable.  You deserve time where you can focus solely on what you want to do.  This can be doing a hobby, having a nana nap, or talking with your best friend on the phone.  Anything that’ll help you and your mind escape the chores of ordinary day to day activities.

–          Delegate – People love the opportunity to help out where they can.  You shouldn’t be expected to do everything.  If it’s a task that somebody else can do for you, pass it on and share the love.

–          Nourish yourself – Eat well.  Choose a good combination of unprocessed carbohydrates, lean meat, good proteins, and healthy fats.  A good way to remember what will nourish you well is ‘eat from the garden, a tree, the earth or the sea’.  Almost everything we need can be found in these four places.  Processed foods, high sugar foods, excess coffee, and fast food is loading our liver and adding to the stress that our bodies undergoes.  Choose your foods well, and plan your meals at the start of the week.

–          Date nights – Make dates with your hubby/wife, friends, or children.  Regularly.  Plan activities you can do together that will enable you to love and thrive on one another’s company. This is incredibly grounding, and is a good reminder to us all about what really matters in our lives.


For comments email