Vitality for Mind

October 02 2014

main-article-2By Jessica Sepel

Let’s talk about stress. To some extent, it’s inevitable. Small bursts of stress are not only part of life – they’re actually healthy. They keep us motived, and they can keep us out of not-so-good situations.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is ‘go go go’. Our lives are so fast-paced and hectic that it has almost become a competition to see who’s “busiest.” Rest is considered indulgent, and many people feel guilty at the very thought of taking 10 minutes for themselves.

It’s ridiculous!

The fact is, stress is the root of most health conditions. Although short and long-term (even chronic) stress manifests differently, it affects the whole body in a big, bad way. We need to stress less. A lot less.

Taking the time to rest and recuperate will do wonders for your day-to-day life. It recharges you at a cellular level. It refreshes you so that you can complete tasks with precision and approach your relationships and health with more vigour and energy.

I learned the hard way that the body simply can’t function properly under constant stress. It became clear that, in order to live the healthy, vibrant life I wanted – and wanted to set an example of for my clients and readers – I needed to slow down. And it’s not easy in today’s world of being connected 24/7. Social media (and technology in general) does not really allow us to switch off.

We live in a world where it’s become necessary to set boundaries with technology. I fear it is taking away from being fully present in our own lives, which is why I’ve made a promise to switch off all technology by 8pm – and I stick to this most of the time! But I decided to take it a little further when I made the commitment to a whole day being social media free.

Typically, that day is Sunday. And the results have been amazing:

- It sets me up for a more productive week
- It allows my nervous system to rest and repair
- It’s taken my health to the next level!

When I implemented #JSHealthSwitchoff with my social media followers, I was thrilled to see the positive response. So many readers have posted their photos the next day, feeling rested and rejuvenated.

Still, there are plenty of moments throughout the week that require a break and a rest. That’s why I also promote (and practice) the Stress-Free Zone (SFZ). For just 10 minutes a day, I encourage you to take a little time to yourself. Away from other people, phones and email. Enjoy 10-30 minutes of solitude each day. Try going for a walk, reading a book, meditation, practicing yoga, or just lying in the grass. It’s an incredible way to balance yourself and reconnect with your own vitality.

So want to know my best ways to relax, meditate and give your mind a rest?

Here they are:

- Write down 5 things you are grateful for. So simple, yet so effective – try it! When you feel grateful, you automatically feel less stressed, right?
- Make 8 hours of sleep non-negotiable.
- Meditate daily. If you’re new to meditation, it’s simply about bringing more awareness into your life, so just sit in silence and connect to your breath.
- Have a bath in aromatherapy oils.
- Go for a walk in nature.
- Book in for a massage.
- Put your phone on airplane mode for an hour or two (baby steps!) during the day. This will give you time to rejuvenate, and get things done. I switch off all technology at 8pm. The blue light and electro-magnetic fields mess with melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for inducing sleep.
- Write down any thoughts or tasks before bed.
- Keep your emails short and check them only twice a day. I refuse to let emails take over my life. You should too. People will (or will learn to) understand that you can’t be on call all the time.
- Learn to say no. Don’t feel obligated to accept a social invite if you’ve had a busy or stressful day.
- Go into savasana. Put your legs up against a wall for 10 minutes and just breathe.
- Get acupuncture. Bye, bye, blockages!
- Learn to love restorative exercise. Endorphins are amazing, but we’re not designed to push our bodies to the extreme every day. So exercise less, but smarter.
- Give yourself permission to rest. Your body is smart, so listen to it. If you’re tired, take a time out.

Just be. By yourself.