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Feel like you’re running on empty? You’re not alone. Many of us are juggling kids and jobs and laundry in a seemingly endless loop of busyness, our only escape being the weekly grocery run. You may be feeling mentally and physically wiped out right about now. Perhaps it’s time to hit the “refresh” button.

When we constantly work without a real break, we may not realize the physiological and psychological stress we put ourselves through. Many of us work from sunup to sundown, checking emails at the dinner table or putting final touches on a project while we lay in bed. Add the kids who needed you to teach them during the semester of virtual learning and who are now missing summer camps…it’s no wonder your mind is in constant overdrive.

Maybe you’re overzealous about following our HealthEase workouts, and you’ve thrown muscle soreness into the mix. When our bodies are constantly in “go go go” mode, cortisol levels rise and we may start to feel symptoms of over-training syndrome or burnout. Fatigue, headaches, eye strain, sleep disturbances, declining performance, decreased motivation, mood changes, and even illness might seem like the new norm.

Your health and fitness experts understand that 2020 has been a far cry from relaxing. That’s why I encourage you to press “refresh” even in a small way this week! You will do your mind and body a world of good by unplugging and actively resting. So try a handful of the suggestions below to help yourself recover. You deserve to feel energized!

1 This is the year of the Staycation! Even if you are unable to travel this summer due to the current pandemic situation, you can create a little “getaway” right at home. Make a conscious decision to turn off all work-related technology when work is done on Friday. What recipes have been on your Pinterest board for months that you haven’t had time to make? What books have been sitting on your shelf waiting for you to read? Has your family been dying to watch a movie together? This is the perfect time to check items off your list! Create an itinerary for yourself so it can feel just like a vacation. Letting your mind get away from work (even if it’s just for the weekend) can lessen feelings of mental drain and help boost creativity and productivity when you return.

2 Get out in nature. Rest doesn’t have to mean sitting on the sofa for days on end. Changing up your workout routine can do wonders for your body! Explore a new hiking trail near your neighborhood, stroll through a local arboretum, or take the dog to the dog park across town. Being in nature has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve mood. You can soak up some vitamin D while you’re at it!

3 Restorative yoga is a type of yoga that doesn’t require extreme fitness levels or flexibility. It often resembles a guided nap! Create a quiet space for yourself, roll out your mat or cozy blanket, dim the lights and follow along to a Restorative Yoga video. By practicing slow, deep breathing, your Vagus nerve will help to calm your body’s fight-or-flight state.

4 Connect with others. Quarantine surely put a damper on our social lives, but as social creatures it’s important to maintain our friendships even if we can’t see one another face to face. Schedule a phone call with an old friend this week or send an email to a colleague you’re used to seeing in the company cafeteria. Even small positive interactions can help improve mood and give us a natural dopamine spike.

Whatever you choose, know that setting time aside for relaxation is as beneficial to your body as a tough workout. Recovery is often underrated but it is crucial to improvement in the gym, at work and in our home life. So go ahead and press REFRESH!

by HealthEase Fitness Professional Jul Baratta