Did you know most heart attacks occur Monday morning? I read that here on WomensHeart.org. I’m not a doctor, but I’m convinced it has something to do with the anxiety of having to go to work or all the damage caused from over eating and drinking the weekend before. It’s more so the former for me.I love what I do for a living but we all have jobs that completely drain us. Jobs are jobs for a reason! And sometimes, our jobs become consume us and we lose sight of ourselves.
I don’t have any hobbies. Besides working out, sleeping and occasionally meeting up with friends, I don’t really do anything but work…and more work. I was miserable, depressed, and could barely drag myself out of bed. The last thing on my mind was eating right or taking care of myself. In the last 4 years, I’ve only taken ONE week long vacation for myself. While all my friends were going on road trips, collecting stamps in their passports, and acquiring bronzed skin I was jetting around following artists, working. Of the last 10 times I got on a plane, all 10 were for work. This was no way to live.
So that is why I turned my life over to my friend and social planner Liz. Me and 11 other lovely ladies were “kidnapped.” Liz rounded us all in a van and drove us to a mystery destination. She planned an amazing weekend full of laughing, singing along to mix tapes, a scenic trolley tour, good food, a wine tasting, dancing, road trip bingo, goodie bags and…. Oh, did I mention this was all in Newport, Rhode Island? While Newport was beautiful, the city was the least memorable of the entire weekend. The good friends, meaningful conversations, belly laughs, dancing for three hours, meeting random people…that is what made the weekend amazing. For once I didn’t have to think! (Not that thinking is a bad thing.) My friends and I felt alive! This is what life is about. Yes, we are meant to work and make money and all that, but none of that means anything when you can’t enjoy any of it. When you forget to take care of your mental and emotional health, your physical health takes a toll too! I never realized how much my body needed rest until I left the city. I was afraid I would return to the city feeling like crap because I missed two days of working out. Instead I returned with vigor, ready to take on the work week, work harder at the gym, and eat food that is nutritious and good for me. Relaxation is just as important to health as much as exercising or eating right. Our bodies need rest in order to get stronger.
photo credit: gracekelle
Note: Here are some shots from the road trip. No road trip is complete without snacks and popchips were definitely the better choice.
I know it’s ironic that I’m writing about relaxation on Monday morning, when we’re all probably sitting at our desks stressing about the day. But that’s exactly the reason! While work is a part of who you are, it’s definitely not all of you. So relax, don’t do it. “It” may be taking on an extra project because you think your boss will think highly of you, or “it” may be skipping the 6 pm spin class to get a head start on tomorrow’s budget planning. “It” is not worth your sanity and health. Relax.
My relaxation this past week came when my friend Nelle and I went to the spa. I used my SpaFinder giftcard from my popchips New Year, New Rear win to get a Vitamin-C facial. The esthetician Fay massaged my face and neck while I sank into the massage table. I could literally feel the stress melt away from head to toe. When I’m relaxed, I make better food choices because I’m in tune with my body. I don’t rely on caffeine or sugar to get me through the day. When I’m relaxed, my body is able to communicate to me that I need water, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s also not a coincidence that stress causes us to store fat. Another reason to stay relaxed! Stress causes us to be fat and not Lean Girls. Ugh.
What do you need to do this week to relax? Maybe it’s eating lunch away from your desk? Perhaps its reading a book rather than reading emails on your crackberry before bed? Or is it taking a walk every morning before work? Finally submitting that vacation request you’ve been meaning to do for weeks? This is one “it” worth doing.