You’ve probably heard the phrase “disconnect to reconnect.” It is SO TRUE! Ensuring that we schedule breaks into our workday is essential for body and mind. This great article talks about 7 different kinds of rest you need to feel recharged: physical, mental, social, creative, emotional, spiritual, and sensory. In this week’s blog, we want to remind you how important it is to rest, relax, and disconnect and also share some of the benefits that doing so can provide.
BENEFIT #1: Less Stress
Let’s face it: taking care of the family, home, and personal relationships, while juggling work responsibilities as well, can quickly result in an accumulation of stress and frustration. You may even tell yourself that you are so busy, it’s impossible to disconnect. But remember: even 1-2 minutes of deep breathing exercises can significantly lower stress levels! Here are some to try. It’s precisely when we feel we are too busy to disconnect for even a moment, when we need to do so the most! Free time and rest – even for a few brief moments – will provide us with renewed focus and energy as well as helping to alleviate headaches, tension, and stress.
BENEFIT #2: Heart Health
Taking the time to disconnect and relax will lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Listen to your body: resting when it asks you to can help reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. At a cellular level, rest helps to preserve the proper functioning of the heart muscle which prevents heart failure. There is an emerging new field of study about rest, and scientists have discovered specific “rest genes” that correlate with improved healing and better immune function. Read more here.
BENEFIT #3: Brain Health
Alpha brain waves occur when you are relaxed and not concentrating on anything. They help you feel calm, more creative, and enhance your ability to learn and absorb new information. “It turns out that when your mind is at rest, dispersed brain areas are chattering away to one another,” says Dr. Marcus Raichle of Washington University in St. Louis. He was part of a team that made a pivotal discovery in the 1990’s showing how specific areas of the brain respond to downtime.
BENEFIT #4: Improved Social Relationships
Relaxing and disconnecting reduces our stress levels, so we find ourselves in a better mood. This leads to more positive interactions with the people around us. This is true whether they are family members, friends or co-workers. Being better rested results in less anger and aggression and makes us more willing to connect with others in compassionate ways. Here are 5 ways sleep and rest are good for relationships.
BENEFIT #5: Enhanced Productivity and Creativity
If the brain is overloaded, it struggles to form ideas and perform at its best. On the other hand, being well-rested empowers the brain to make connections and solve problems more quickly. This can help fuel the creative process. Learn 7 ways creativity and proper rest are linked.
How can you disconnect?
If you have a hard time figuring out how you can disconnect, here are some ideas to make it easier for you:
- Schedule time for activities that you are passionate about: Take the opportunity to enjoy your hobbies, alone or in the company of others.
- Consciously seek the balance between work and free time. Both can complement each other without neglecting the other.
- Designate times when you will disconnect from social media or any other stimulation that may affect your ability to fully rest.
- Do what you’ve been postponing for so long: take that trip you’ve talked about so much or plan a meeting with friends or family you haven’t seen for a long time.
- Book a relaxing activity for yourself such as a massage, or a yoga or meditation class.
At Healing Hands, we make it a priority to help you disconnect to reconnect via our many massage therapies and online wellness classes.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m writing this blog while on a transatlantic cruise as part of a 10-year anniversary trip/vacation. So…am I following my own advice about disconnecting or not? You be the judge… 😋