Everything around us goes a mile a minute these days.
From needing to get a drive-through order ready quickly – to which I can attest firsthand from previously working at Whataburger – to someone using I-10 at rush hour as their own personal Indy 500 qualifying track to shave 30 seconds off a one-hour commute and everything in between, everyone everywhere remains in a seemingly constant state of worry and rushing.
It leaves us feeling as though we can barely breathe.
What’s it like to truly “leave work at the office?” Someone who can do that, I’m jealous of you. But here’s a suggestion I was previously given, and it’s one I circle back to on a regular basis: take the time to breathe today.
Having worked as a newspaper reporter for more than four years now, I know deadlines are necessary. It’s our duty to you, the readers of the Fort Bend Star, to bring you the news of what’s happening in your community to the public eye as quickly and correctly as possible. I understand the crunch, and true down time in this (and many) industries comes around less often than a blue moon.
Honestly, there will never be a “good” moment to take a breather. Even during times like my Spring Break trip to West Palm Beach, I constantly felt as though I was doing readers at our sister paper a disservice by not tracking down community news and happenings. I couldn’t help it – that’s what I’ve done week after week since graduating college.
But what I’ve learned over the years is that it’s necessary to MAKE time. However we unwind, we have to make a conscious effort to ever so briefly let the world fade away and allow ourselves a moment to get our head above the waves – whether it’s on holidays like this past Monday, a quick prayer before going to bed or after waking up in the morning, or 30-minute nap in your car over the lunch hour.
Beyond giving you a brief respite from the work week, rest and relaxation is also necessary on another level. According to the Mayo Clinic, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends at least 10 hours of sleep for school-aged children, 9-10 hours for teens and 7-8 hours for adults. And while there are no specific guidelines for how much relaxation a person should weave into their daily schedule, making time to unwind and enjoy the little things in life is an important part of maintaining good health. The Mayo Clinic says long-term stress can cause myriad health issues, including chest pain, headaches and more.
Personally, my daily ride home with the music turned up is where I find the most solace after a busy day at the office. That’s my window to unwind and let the world just fall away, if only for 45 minutes. It’s different for each person.
Whether you’re a student in school, part of the workforce commuting to the office like myself, or taking care of a family (or some combination of the three), there is oftentimes a disconnect between knowing we should scale back and actually following through. It’s natural human instinct – we’re creatures of habit and products of the world we were raised in, and a lot of us have been raised in a bustling world that seems to rarely, if ever, sleep.
So upon entering any stage of life (school, work and/or a family), we immediately throw our entire being into the endeavor, without a second thought. And that’s necessary for most undertakings.
But what’s also necessary is remembering the human body is not invincible. We’re not programmed to be able to go hours on end without a break, or work through the night with little sleep and come out the next day good as new. Our bodies and minds need the reset, and the recharging of our batteries that comes with sleep, rest and relaxation.
So I say we leave Indy 500 qualifying for the professional racecar drivers and keep ourselves out of harm’s way the best that we can.
Who really wants to live their life at 200 miles per hour anyway?