Slow Down Your Life (and Don't Feel Guilty) If your to-do list trails to the ground, you’re not alone. It seems that people are only getting busier—but why? We’ve had this incredible surge in technology to make life easier and decrease the amount of time spent on tasks—but no one really seems to be capitalizing on the free time it creates, they’re just filling the gaps with more things to get done.

The Guilt Trip

Ever feel guilty for sitting back with your feet up? Or curling up on the couch for a midday movie? A lot of people feel guilty for spending time relaxing or doing nothing at all. And we’re guessing this has to do with our go-go-go culture where laziness is frowned upon—we work hard, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and get things done. Look at our workweek compared to other countries; we work longer hours per week than France, the U.K., Denmark, Spain, Finland, Australia, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands—just to name a few. And when compared to Italy, France, Germany, Brazil, the U.K., Canada, Korea and Japan, we have far less vacation days, second only to China.

We’re here to tell you to it’s OK to slow down, in fact, it’s more than OK—it’s good for you. So go ahead, clear your calendar, cozy up on the couch with a good book—here’s some relaxation why and how:

The Why

There is a ton of research out there on the benefits of relaxation—some is more obvious like stress relief, but other reasons may surprise you. Below are just a few of the benefits; we encourage you to research more on this topic.

Research has shown relaxation and relaxation techniques can:

  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Ward off disease
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve the body’s ability to regulate blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes
  • Lessen severe pain
  • Boost your memory
  • Lower stroke risk
Slow Down Your Life (and Don't Feel Guilty)

The How

It can be hard to unwind—and if you’ve always felt guilty for having some “me-time,” it can be really difficult to change the way you think about relaxing. Here are a few ways to get you started:

Rethink downtime. Don’t look at downtime as time wasted or lost—look at it as an investment in yourself; an opportunity to recharge your batteries. If you’re working yourself to the bone, your work, your health and your happiness (and the happiness of those around you!) will suffer.  

Give yourself some credit. Instead of constantly reviewing what’s left on your plate at the end of the day, review what you’ve accomplished. Pat yourself on the back and wrap it up for the day. You heard us; put that to-do list away! It’ll still be there tomorrow.

Schedule time for nothing. Seriously, set times during your week where you can have the freedom to choose what you’d like to do—read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk. If you can, leave a weekend day completely unscheduled. And don’t let that pile of laundry or dishes taunt you! Your health and sanity is far more important than a spotless home.