Monday, July 20, 2009

Pillar 6 of DIY Health-Relaxation

The sixth pillar of DIY Health is relaxation As I write in the upcoming book Dr Joes DIY Health-Putting you in charge of your health:

“Unwinding and letting go of tension and stress is essential for leading a healthy and happy life. Some people find it easy to relax, while others find it difficult and often get to the end of their holidays before they start to feel relaxed and carefree.
Research from Stanford University suggests that the ability to manage stress may be the most important factor in longevity. The body reacts physically to stress (either physically or emotionally) and releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which increases heart rate and blood pressure. This is useful if you’re trying to escape a tiger, but certainly not helpful when you’re trying to go to sleep.”

Relaxation is about the things you do for the enjoyment they bring, not for any other purpose. It is about playing ball for fun not to win. It is walking in the park, listening to music, being with your loved ones or whatever you enjoy doing and has no time frame to it.
Recently it has been time to practice what I preach. With self-publishing a book and also getting a web site developed my stress levels also started to climb over the preceding weeks. It was therefore timely to have a 6-day break. With my family we went to the south coastal town of Albany.

Now Albany in the middle of July is cold and a bit wet. The beauty of this is that you can slow down. Country towns in general have a slow down feel about them and when the weather is cold this is amplified a bit.
So what does one do on such a holiday? Not very much. The best part is actually not having any commitments and not having to be at any particular place at any particular time. Now most days we did get out and about for a while. The countryside is pretty. Albany has a great farmers market on a Saturday morning .The organic eggs were brilliant and there was natural honey as well as fresh blueberry produce and organic olive oil.

On the Sunday we travelled out to Denmark (a small town 50km to the west of Albany). Just out of there was a toffee factory, which also produces a range of, jams and sauces. The toffee has no artificial ingredients. Nearby is a small nature park where one can feed and pet a number of animals including kangaroos and Alpaca goats. This type of activity is very grounding and really allows you to slow down.

Back at the lovely 2-bedroom holiday apartment the whole family was able to catch up on some reading and watch a DVD or two as well as have quiet walks along the windswept beach. Quiet family time together without external commitments is also valuable. The proverbial icing on the cake was the capacity to sleep in and catch up a bit of a backlog of sleep.

Being able to do things at a slow pace and have no commitments allows us to literally slow down .The world today is rapid paced and it is no use hoping that it will slow down for you. Indeed it can be very productive and efficient to move at speed. However at some point there needs to be a balance. A break such as the one I have just had allows a recharging of the batteries. Virtually everything we did was done for its own enjoyment, and not to any pre conceived plan or time line.

This is true relaxation –an easy to overlook but nonetheless vital pillar of DIY Health

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