Is your body under attack from too-busy syndrome?

DON'T underestimate the effects of stress, or too-busy syndrome.

Social commentators are starting to recognise the fact that resting, or relaxing, has less cachet than it used to and that being "crazy busy" or "overloaded" is increasingly seen as a status symbol.

The truth is that, as with everything in life, balance is the key and a body that is on the go 18 hours a day will soon start to show distress as well as premature signs of wear and tear.

Regular infections, rashes, tense muscles, insomnia, aches and pains and irritability are all signs that your body - and mind - are under attack.

So what is real relaxation? What it is not is collapsing exhausted in front of the television or another screen. What it may be is engaging in a hobby or pastime you really enjoy, catching up with friends, meditating or listening to a relaxation CD, getting a massage or simply lying in the sun with a book.

You'll be surprised, especially if you are caught up in busy-ness, that actually doing any of these things requires determination and practice.

Get out your diary and actually schedule them into your day. When you find that, after five or 10 minutes, you are thinking about all the type A activities you could do, fight the urge.

Force yourself to relax a little longer.

Eventually you will get to like it and your nervous and muscular system will begin to calm down. You might even find greater peace of mind and that your sleep improves.

You could feel less and less on the treadmill and less put upon or stretched.

As cartoonist Michael Leunig says, without rest, we will become rest-less and it is this that will spill into all areas of our lives.

So resist the chance to do more. Do less. Literally stop and smell the roses or the ocean, or...

Ditch the guilt. Embrace the health benefits.

Helen Hawkes is a life and wellness coach. Contact her through or on 0403 805 001.

Seven steps to relaxation

1.Try one of the new colouring books for adults.

2. Download a relaxation or meditation practice.

3. Take a cooking or woodwork course.

4. Just say no to more demands.

5. Spend less so you don't have to earn more.

6. Create a relaxation area for yourself at home and make it off limits, especially for mobile devices.

7. Diary relaxation like you would any other appointment.

Topics:  mental health stress weekend magazine

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