I think at this point in time in our culture, the majority of people can look around and agree we are all under a certain amount of chronic stress. It may be more intense for some and less for others, but I think the fact that it exists for most of us is not up for debate.
The issue is that we are not designed for chronic stress. Meaning our DNA and genes do not know how to handle little bits of stress over long periods of time. We do, however, have a great mechanism for handling high levels of stress for short periods of time.
This means we are not well equipped to handle financial stress for decades, social pressure our whole lives or work stress for years on end. These types of stress have a major negative health that is cumulative over the years.
Having periods of recovery time in our lives (periodically over the year) to rest and replenish our tank is paramount to our ability to “deal” with our typical work weeks. This “recovery time” includes small doses of activities such as participation in something athletic, reading, writing or engaging in hobbies. We also need longer periods of recovery time....... called vacation!
I’ve joked with many patients in the office that sometimes I feel that the vacation was more work that it was worth. It feels that way sometimes. By the time we tie up the work for the office, and prepare ourselves -and Levi - for the trip, it already seems like more work than it’s worth. Not to mention all the catch up we have upon returning, It can be overwhelming to say the least!
But, once we assessthe difference between our increased stress from trip preparation with the stress reduction of the trip itself, it is clear that we benefit greatly from vacations! We need that down time to recharge our batteries so that may continue to do what we love! More and more as the world around us continues to move faster, we are expected to get more done in less time, Our bodies absolutely require these frequent doses of recovery time to prevent adrenal fatigue burn out from our day to dary.
A stress analogy I use often is as follows:
Imagine you are a glass and you are being filled with water (stress). Burn out and adrenal fatigue occur when your cup becomes full of water and begins to overflow. If you want to handle this stress you have 2 options: Stop adding water (remove the stressor) or get a bigger glass. For many of us, simply removing the stressor is not so simple especially if we consider the source of stress to be work or family related. This leaves us with option 2: Get a bigger glass. Our glass gets bigger when we eat properly, move our bodies, and give ourselves room for recovery time.
Find time to get away even if it's for only a day or two. You have earned it and you deserve it!