Sometimes, it feels as though our society has placed a stigma on the idea of relaxation. If you’re relaxing, you’re not being productive, after all! The question though, is “is that really true?” Actually, it isn’t.
We’ve all been there. You’re tired. You’re frustrated, but you keep forging ahead anyway, marching through your busy schedule and trying to get everything done. The problem is that your mind and body both start to rebel at a certain point, and you start seeing diminishing returns. The harder to try to stay on task, the more you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels. That’s your cue to take a relaxation break!
Before you get up from your desk to take some much needed down time, it’s important to do a quick internal assessment to see what form of relaxation would actually be most beneficial to you. That matters, and if you properly pair a relaxation technique with the specific way you’re feeling, you’ll reap the maximum benefit, so that when you get back in the game, you feel refreshed and ready to go.
If you’re feeling tired, for instance, what you need is a quick pick-me-up in the form of a piece of fresh fruit. A little jolt of energy to get you through the rest of the day. On the other hand, if you’re wrestling with what seems like an intractable problem, a few minutes spent meditating, or taking the time to get away from your office and go for a short walk would be more helpful. If you’re facing multiple symptoms, say, both physically and mentally fatigued at the same time, then a short power nap is probably in order.
You don’t have to take a very long break, but you should definitely listen to your body when it starts sending signals like that. If you don’t, you’ll only wind up feeling more stressed out and being less productive, as you continue to struggle. Be good to yourself. Listen to your body and take a break when it tells you it needs one.
If you suffer from allergies, you’re not alone. There are millions of people fighting that battle with you, but this piece will give you an edge. A secret advantage you can use to make dealing with the symptoms a whole lot easier.
The secret? Exercise. No, you don’t have to become a “gym rat,” and spend every waking moment pumping iron, but the research is pretty conclusive. Spending just thirty minutes working up a sweat can reduce your allergy symptoms by as much as 70%! Even better, whereas a number of the medications you can take to control your symptoms will make you sleepy, a good, brisk workout will leave you feeling more awake, alert, and positively crackling with energy.
The science is unclear about exactly what exercise has such a big impact, but one of the leading theories is that by increasing your blood flow, it simply moves the allergens through your body and into your kidneys more quickly, where they can be purged. Another theory is that cardio-intensive workouts help to calm the inflammatory proteins in your nasal passages, although the exact mechanism is unclear.
A nice side benefit of regular workouts (in addition to the weight loss that will inevitably follow) is the fact that it can act to counter those feelings of fatigue and irritability you often feel when you’ve spent the better part of a day sneezing and feeling miserable.
So what exercises tend to be the most impactful?
Any cardio-centered workout will do wonders, as will activities like swimming. In fact, if the town or city where you live has an aquatic center, you can often sign up for classes that see you performing various exercises in the pool, where the drag created by the water gives you a better, more thorough workout than if you were to do those same exercises in an exercise room. Just be sure to take an antihistamine if you’re having difficulty breathing before you begin, otherwise, you could wind up making yourself feel worse, not better!
In most cases, excess weight doesn’t outright cause back pain, but the two are still closely related. That’s because the extra weight puts additional pressure on the discs in your spine, which is ultimately the source of that sharp, often debilitating pain you feel in your back.
When your back is hurting, it can be difficult to work up the motivation to get up and move, but it’s absolutely critical. Low impact movement is, of course, the best, so focus on movement that doesn’t make your back feel even worse than it already does. Walking will probably be your go-to exercise, but even that can add to the pain you’re feeling. If it does, your best bet is to walk in a pool. It may sound silly, but walking in shallow water will actually do quite a lot to help alleviate the pain.
One of the best, fastest, safest ways to lose weight is to eat foods that are not calorically dense. The problem with the Standard American Diet (SAD) is that it tends to focus on foods that are high in calories, and low in nutrition. That would be fine if we lived in a Hunter-Gatherer society, but we don’t. Instead of loading up on meats and grains, stick with fresh vegetables as your mainstay. Many of these foods are actually calorie negative, because your body burns more calories digesting them than the foods actually contain. That’s a win for you because you feel full, and your body gets plenty of nutrients, so it doesn’t go into “hibernation mode” and start hoarding fat, which can often happen if you go on one of the starvation, fad diets you find on the internet.
The combination of loading up on fresh vegetables and committing to a walking regimen is a powerful one-two punch that will help you lose the excess weight, and make your back feel better.