Dr Mazvita Machinga Mental Health
JUST watching the life of many Zimbabweans, one wonders if they ever have time to really relax and rest.
Everywhere you go, at the market in the city centre and in townships, you see people on the move, trying to make ends meet. The question is, do these people ever have time to rest and relax or is it important any way to do that.
We are living today in a world that can be hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the hustle and fast world that we live in. If you are in school, commuting to work and/or taking care of your family, time seem to evaporate and no time to stop.
So in such moments, taking good care of your body and mind can make a difference in your life and how well you cope.
In this article, I discuss simple, but important factors that may change your life for the better.
Getting enough rest, sleep, laugh and prayermay help you do better and enjoy life more.
Taking good care of yourself may require a little extra time and effort to just sit and do nothing.
Yes, I mean sitting and replenishing your energy. You will find that it’s worth it.
There are these four things that are very important which everyone should aim to achieve and again, relax, rest/sleep, laugh and prayer.
Take time to spend with your family and friends.You may say you have not time to relax and rest, but just remember that this can backfire when your body breaks down.
Relax and Rest
With our lives constantly being busy, we do not give ourselves time to relax and that is not good and not advisable. Relaxation has many mental and physical health benefits.
Intentional relaxation has many possible benefits.
It improves your mood, blood pressure, relieves pain, your immune and circulatory systems.
Let me tell you that you can’t always stop what you are doing every hour to relax or rest, but if you repeatedly and regularly ignore nature’s call to take time out, you will soon find yourself breaking down, suffering mentally and physically.
For instance, you can have:
increased emotional instability (at work and relationships)
loss of productivity – not perform well at work
Increased likelihood of stress-induced physical illness, e.g. ulcers, hypertension and stroke.
Everyone needs to learn to relax, since it is not something that comes naturally for many. If you are not getting enough time to relax, you may find yourself feeling tense and stressed out.
Chronic stress, if not addressed, can cause negative health conditions such as chest pain, headaches, digestive complications, anxiety, depression and changes in sexual desire.
Getting the correct amount of quality sleep is crucial to day-to-dayfunctioning. Additionally, sleep helps restore your body’s energy, repair muscle tissue and triggers the release of hormones that effect growth.
However, just like exercises, the amount of sleep you need depends on your age.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends at least 11-12 hours for preschool-aged children, 10 hours for school-aged children, nine to 10 hours for teens and seven to eight hours for adults.
Try to stay in the suggested guidelines for amount of sleep.
Quality of sleep matters too. If you don’t get enough sleep, or good quality sleep every once in a while, you may notice that you wake up feeling tired, not well rested, and experience difficulty concentrating.
If you consistently do not get enough quality sleep, you are at higher risk for ill health and conditions such as heart disease, headaches and depression. But take note of the fact that getting too much sleep on a regular basis can be problematic for your health as well.
Making time to find enjoyment and laughing is also an important element of relaxation. Laughing decreases pain, may help your heart and lungs, promotes muscle relaxation and can reduce anxiety.
Prayer helps improve health. Prayer elicits the relaxation response, which lowers blood pressure and other factors heightened by stress.
Prayer also elicit positive feelings of gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, and hope, all of which are associated with healing and wellness. So, please relax, rest, laugh, sleep and prayer.
Dr Mazvita Machinga, PhD, is a qualified psychotherapist in Mutare. For counselling and psychotherapy call 0778 83 84 10 or 0771 754 519 email firstname.lastname@example.org