#MeTime is a popular hashtag on Instagram and Facebook posts, but research shows that it is much more than a clever phrase to introduce a visually stunning photograph.
As is the case in many parts of the world, stress is a big problem for American women, with statistics showing that every 80 seconds, one woman dies from heart disease or stroke – both of which are strongly linked to stress.
Burnout, feeling overworked, and conflicting personal/work demands are considered risk factors for these and other diseases, but the good news is that they can, in great part, be prevented by making good lifestyle choices. One of these is knowing when to let go, embracing mindfulness, and giving yourself the ‘me time’ that mind and body crave.
Not All Personal Time Is Alike
Go Red for Women, an initiative aiming to be a catalyst for women to improve their health and quality of life, reminds women that there are specific ‘me time’ activities that can help improve heart health and keep stress at bay. These include relaxing in nature. One recent study, published in the April, 2020 edition of the journal Frontiers, found that taking just 20 minutes out of your day to walk or sit in a place that makes you feel close to nature significantly lowers stress hormone levels.
The researchers said that their study confirms that “for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”
Finding Your Definition Of Happiness
Personal time means different things to different women. For some stressed employees, nothing quite gets those endorphins going like an energetic hike, swim, or CrossFit session. For others, a game of golf followed by a luxury pampering experience like a spa manicure and pedicure, circuit pool swim, or soothing hot stone really hits the spot.
When it comes to ‘me time’, one of the most important considerations is the extent to which your chosen activity truly fulfills and makes you happy. Your daily visit to the gym may be a Godsend for your health, for instance, but if you have a day off and all you feel like doing is binge-watching your favorite Netflix series, giving in to guilty pleasures once in a while is vital.
Holistic Pursuits To Connect With Your Inner Consciousness
Carl Jung believed that all human beings have something they call the ‘collective unconscious’ – a rich inner life or spirituality that connects us to all sentient things. Today, the idea of turning inward and leading the mind to a peaceful state of mindfulness is helping many women battle the ravages of illness and stress.
Mindful activities such as yoga, Tai Chi and meditation, are being used to help women deal with depression and anxiety. In numerous studies, they have proven to be helpful to deal with the stress of diseases such as breast cancer. Like spending time in nature, these activities lower cortisol levels, but also boost the mood and increase your sense of vitality.
Taking time out to take care of yourself is important when you are an independent, hardworking woman who gives her very best to work, family and friends every day. Because stress is so closely related to heart disease, obesity and diabetes, keeping it at bay and making mental health and wellness a priority, is key to the maintenance of a good balance in life.
From relaxing in a green area during your lunch break, to enjoying a ‘splurge’ day at the spa once in a while, make sure to value yourself and to be your biggest, most loyal fan. Someone’s got to fulfill this role; why can’t it be you?Lastly, I'm starting to tell other women about a health newsletter that I've benefited immensely from and that I highly recommend. I think you might like it, too. If you want, you can sign up here.
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