8 Reasons To Slooow Down
Fast Enough for You?
Here's a snapshot of how hyper our culture has become:
- The average workweek is 47 hours — up from 34 hours two decades ago.
- There's no time for home-cooked meals: Children consumed 300 percent more
food from fast food restaurants in 1996 than in 1977. Not surprisingly,
one-third fewer families report regularly eating together today compared with
three decades ago.
- Most of us get 90 minutes less shut-eye per night than our
- Almost 28 percent fewer families take vacations now than two decades
- 55 mph was the national speed limit from 1973 to 1995; now, it's 65 mph to
75 mph in most states.
Take Back Your Time!
Sometimes it seems like enjoying a little time off is taboo in our country:
Only 14 percent of Americans will take two or more weeks of vacation this year,
and the United States is currently the only industrial nation without a law to
protect its citizens' vacation times. But these workaholic ways are taking a
toll on our well-being. "Americans are burned out. We have no time to rest
and recuperate — and it's not healthy," says Lisa Stuebing, executive
director of Take Back Your Time, an ongoing major U.S./Canadian initiative to
combat the epidemic of overwork and overscheduling in North America. Research
shows that people need at least two weeks' worth of vacation time to recover
from the burnout that can lead to chronic stress. The Take Back Your Time
campaign aims to guarantee those two weeks for all American workers with The
Leave Protection, Family Bonding, and Personal Restoration Act, a bill that
calls for a minimum of three weeks paid vacation. For more information, visit
8 Ways to Rev Down
Finding and creating moments for rest and reflection throughout your day is
easier than you think.
Write in a journal. Letting your worries, thoughts, and
dreams flow from your mind onto paper allows you to express your feelings
rather than bottle them up, a habit that can lead to stress.
Take the scenic route. The end of the day usually means the
beginning of a hectic evening of household chores, dog walking, and getting the
kids fed, bathed, and into bed. Rather than jumping directly from the frying
pan into the fire, allow yourself some downtime during this transition: Skip
your normal bumper-to-bumper highway commute and enjoy the slow and winding
tree-lined back roads, or park your car and take a short walk around your
neighborhood before you head home.
Nap. Indulging in a 30-minute midday snooze (at the park,
in your car, or on the couch) gives your body and mind a cozy break and
provides a natural boost in energy and brainpower.
Shower like you mean it. Sure, that morning shower is
generally a blur of groggy, grumpy sudsing and rinsing. But it may also be one
of the few opportunities in your entire day for a blissful, solitary moment. So
spend an extra 10 seconds letting the warm water wash over you, break out the
yummy-scented soap you've been saving (for what?), or try that new loofah.