It should come as no surprise that taking a break from the routine is good for us. Nevertheless, it is all too easy to become consumed by the day-to-day. There’s school lunches, the school run, a daily commute, the politics of work, for some of us the drudgery of everyday work, the commute back home, school pickups, mindless television, dinner, sleep, repeat. It is easy to see why some people call this the Daily Grind. Done incessantly it will grind you down, slowly but surely.
Our language is replete with references to the need for breaks. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, for instance, dates back to at least 1659, and a traditional proverb states that “the hardest work of all is to do nothing”. Personal Trainers, Exercise Physiologists, and most athletes know that they need to rest. Rest between exercise is shown to aid recovery, maintains health by avoiding compromised immunity through over-training, lowers stress, delivers more energy through the day and boosts brain function. Despite this, many of us either feel guilty or struggle to prioritise taking a break.
Going away and breaking up the daily routine is probably one of the best ways to recharge and relax. There is no temptation to do chores, tackle a project that is due or otherwise slide back into the daily routine. When you do find the time to go away with friends or family, there are many health benefits that lie in store for you:
Lowered stress: our routines and work pressures cause increases in the stress hormone cortisol. Sustained levels of cortisol result in multiple ill effects including insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), weight gain, high blood pressure, and reduced immune response. Taking a break helps lower this stress hormone.
Better nutrition: many holiday destinations pride themselves on high-quality local foods. The Mornington Peninsula is no exception, featuring excellent producers of fruits, vegetables, local seafood, and award-winning wineries.
Increased activity: it is an unfortunate fact that most of us live largely sedentary lives. We sit to get to work, we sit behind a desk at work, we sit on the couch once we get home. Many people even struggle to reach the health-goal of 10,000 steps per day. When we go away we tend to explore, we walk, we might run after the kids, throw a ball with the dog, and we participate in activities which we usually have little time for. The Mornington Peninsula is an excellent destination for walking, golf, water sports, and horse riding, to name just a few of the possible activities you can do.
Improved mood: one of the greatest benefits of taking a break is improved mood. Being with the people who mean the most to us, away from everyday distractions, helps us reconnect and find meaning in what we do. We feel energised and happier. Then when we return home we try and instil some of what we did while on holidays, whether it is endeavouring to eat more healthy home-cooked meals, trying to maintain a bit more activity and exercise in our lives, or just striving to maintain healthy and rewarding interpersonal relationships.