When was the last time you answered the question, “How are you?” with the response, “Busy!”?
BY MARIAH SECREST
Whereas a generation ago, we might have been tempted to compare external status symbols such the size of our house or the kind of car we drive, these days it seems the most honorable status gauge of all is that of how overextended our schedules are. Truly, the accolade “I don’t know how you do it all” is one of the highest compliments of our day.
Americans are well known for being the most overworked of developed nations, cited in numerous studies that have caught the attention of such prominent sources as Forbes, ABC News, and even the CDC’s Department of Health and Human Services. Even worse, workaholism isn’t limited to just the workplace. From social media’s bombarding messages to be the best version of yourself, presented through meticulously curated photos in good lighting with perfection-promoting filters, to the rampant competition that even today’s children face in sports, academics, and extracurricular activities—we’re under more strain than ever before to perform. And while the motivation for our era’s obsession workaholic tendencies may be murky and complex (job insecurity, prevalence of technology, and the societal pressure to achieve self-actualization may all be contributing factors), how it’s causing our bodies, mental health, relationships, and even our work itself to suffer is uncontested.Three out of every four doctor’s visits are attributed to stress, with some scholarly estimates as high as 90%.
This same stress that causes our bodies to break down is also making us more reactive in our personal relationships, drying up our creativity, and rendering us less effective—not more—in our careers. Intuitively, we understand this. You know that when you’re under pressure and juggling impossible deadlines, you’re more likely to snap at your partner and less likely to pour into creative pursuits.
So why, if we know how bad chronic stress and overexertion are for us, is it so hard for us to slow down?
For many of us, it may trace back to a fear of judgment from others. Or it may even be that self-judgment is holding us back from giving ourselves the rest that we need and deserve. Breaking the cycle of the stress merry-go-round starts with permission—not permission from others, but permission from yourself. Then, look to expand that conversation to those within your sphere of influence. Surround yourself with those who support your right to do less work better, as opposed to doing more work at half-mast.
The data is already there.
Study after study proves that those who are well rested and care for their bodies get more done, make more strategic business decisions, are more creative, and score higher on leadership performance measures than those who are sedentary and overworked. Now our mission lies in turning what we know into what we practice. At CIVANA, we take great joy in giving you permission to just be. We’ve seen the looks on guests’ faces after a few days or a week of immersing themselves in restful and restorative practices—and that glow is the reason we do what we do.
Start turning the tide of your own experience in favor of rest, play, and regeneration. In so doing, you’ll not only emerge each day with a little more passion for life, but you may just inspire those around you to do the same.
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