Well, I’ve returned to work and I am very glad to be busy. Although my winter break was full of festivities with family and friends, I spent much of my time sitting on the sofa like a slug.
My family usually selects a bunch of movies to watch as a marathon. In the past, we watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and all of the Harry Potter movies. This year we watched multiple episodes of Doctor Who, the sixth season (new series). Matt Smith is my favorite of the twelve doctors, even though I grew up watching Tom Baker.
I enjoyed catching up on episodes that I had not seen before, but now I find myself recovering more from doing nothing, than from too much. Yeah, it’s fun to sit and do nothing for a short while, but multiple days of doing nothing can be very tiring. It wasn’t long before my restless legs syndrome started to travel through my whole body.
With all the hustle and bustle in our lives, we do require a break every now and then, but too much of a good thing can be bad. The act of inactivity can be detrimental on our bodies. I’m not talking about muscle atrophy or bedsores, things that occur from extremely long periods of inactivity; I’m talking about the metabolism slowing down, joints stiffening, and pins and needles in places where, let’s face it, you just don’t want pins and needles.
Do you think hitting that snooze button will grant you a little extra sleep, and make you more energized when you wake? Do you believe that spending the whole morning in your jammies, flumped on the couch, will give you that needed rest? Think again; you’ll actually feel more tired throughout the rest of the day. So get up and get moving. Your mind will follow the cues your body is giving.
Speaking of mind, activity will help your mood. Besides the known benefits of physical activity on improving your physical health, there is growing evidence showing increased physical activity alleviating anxiety, reducing symptoms of stress, anger and depression, and slowing cognitive decline. Notice how these are some of the same reasons we tell ourselves we need a vacation.
Now, I’m not suggesting you trade in that movie marathon for running a real one, but reducing your TV tube tendencies and shaking your groove thing will make you feel better. Whatever physical activity your body can handle, just do it.
People can get lazy easily, but our laziness is usually a symptom of something else, like lack of motivation, fear, tiredness, or even being uninspired. There are things we have to do, but we just don’t feel like doing them. We have to get them done nonetheless, so we need to make time for them. Honestly, whoever says they have to make more time in their day for sitting on the sofa?
Here are some simple suggestions to break up that next long break:
That mess won’t clean itself. Take some time and simply straighten up the place. It will leave you with a mildly elevated heart rate, a tidy abode, and a sense of accomplishment. You also might find an extra $2.36 in the sofa.
Take a Walk
There is a free gym right outside your door; you simply have to step through it. If you have a dog, he or she is probably waiting for you. Enjoy the scenery, check the mail, or meet the neighbors. You don’t even have to run, just walk tall and breathe deeply.
You don’t have to spend money if you don’t have the extra cash, but strolling through the stores can be a nice distraction from your comfy couch. If it’s after Christmas or Hanukah, you can take time to exchange any gifts that did not fit. Well, except for that hand knit sweater from Aunt Edna.
Warm weather breaks are a great time to catch up on tending to your garden. Whether you plant some seeds, pull some weeds, or water your crops and flowers, you are not only getting some activity, but also being a good steward. You can delight in all of nature’s beauty. Don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb; many plants, like mint, grow for just about anybody.
Wash Your Car
I mean by hand. Grab a bucket, sponge, towel, and hose and get those wheels squeaky clean. Wash the grime off the outside and clean out the trash from the inside. While you’re at it, you can check your tire pressure and fluid levels. If you don’t know how, you may want to familiarize yourself with that little book in the glovebox. It might not be a page-turner, but informative, especially while drinking a glass of iced tea.
These are just a few simple tasks to can break up the boredom and lift your spirits. You can be active all while getting a few things accomplished. When you are all finished, then you can take a break—but just a short one.
Well, what are you waiting for? Don’t just sit there; get active!