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Health & Balance

8 Reasons To Slooow Down

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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 timeday.org.

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.

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