Special Guest Blog by Dr Greta from MeMo
When was the last time you took a break? A true break. Where you relaxed completely, put your phone down and immersed yourself in something that brought you joy. The chances are for a good proportion of you; it's been a while.
Taking time out of your day for a moment to yourself is an essential part of maintaining mental wellness. Unfortunately, we live in a time where being busy and hustling is valued over rest.
People feel pressured to achieve more, work harder and squeeze more into their day when they probably need to slow down and rest.
I have seen many patients burnt out, unwell and exhausted as a doctor. The sheer frequency of mental distress that I saw prompted me to start the Me Moment Initiative. Me Mo is a project
which encourages people to take a Me Moment (Me Mo) every day to do something that brings them joy and boosts their mood. I wanted to try and direct people back to the basics of good daily self-care, such as time in nature, gentle movement, meditation, hobbies and breathing exercises. A Me Moment should leave you feeling good while restoring your energy.
Here are a few reasons why taking a daily Me Moment is beneficial for your mental wellbeing.
Taking a moment in your day to slow down, pause and rest with a relaxing activity such as working on a puzzle or reading a book can help decrease your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands to help us respond to stressful events. However, due to the fast pace of living, many people run chronically high cortisol levels. Chronically elevated cortisol can lead to poor sleep, high blood pressure, reduced energy, weight gain and mood disturbances. Research shows that rest can help reduce cortisol levels in the body, helping to regulate mood and maintain good health.
Increases productivity (I know, it's ironic).
Taking time out to enjoy relaxing activities can lead to better productivity. Now I know I've preached about the detriments of living a busy lifestyle. Still, people are trying to do more when they may be better off doing less. Having time to rest and recharge your brain makes you more productive. It improves your concentration and allows you to be more efficient during your dedicated work time.
Stimulates your brain and can improve brain function and memory.
During a Me Moment, you can do many things, such as yoga, meditation, reading, working on a puzzle, creating artwork, cooking, writing poetry, or knitting. All of these activities can challenge and stimulate your brain, leading to better brain function and memory. Just like exercising your muscles helps them grow stronger, so does exercising your brain!
Something to look forward to.
Sometimes after a tough day, you need to know something nice will happen. Planning your Me Moment will give you something to look forward to if you're facing a tough day. Scheduling the time in advance for your Me Moment ensures that it happens. I know that when you're busy, time passes quickly and before you know it, it's bedtime, and you haven't had time to wind down. When you first wake up is a perfect time to plan your Me Moment. Keep it front of mind to have something to look forward to throughout the day.
I know many people are feeling overwhelmed with the events happening all around the world. Often it can feel like the news has nothing positive to report. Although it's important to sit with your emotions as they happen, occasionally, it's nice to get lost in a Me Moment. A Me Mo can provide a welcome distraction from sad or stressful thoughts, providing your mind with some respite.
The idea behind Me Mo isn't anything elaborate. It encourages people to slow down and take a break. And for those who haven't had a break in a while, I hope this helps motivate you to plan a few Me Moments for yourself this week. You and your mental health deserve it.
See more from the amazing Dr. Greta here