Are Americans Getting Enough Mental Down Time-

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Some are fortunate enough to be able to take time off from work, either on a regular basis using personal days to get a bit of relaxation or at least catch up on the backlog of projects and responsibilities at home. Many are also able to take vacations for more extended periods of rest, but that’s not always the case. Unlike in the European Union, which mandates 20 days of paid vacation annually, the U.S. has no federal laws guaranteeing all workers paid leave. Many employers do offer a week or two of paid vacation time, but plenty more do not. For those who live paycheck to paycheck, the financial hardship of taking a time off can be substantial.

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Presentation Transcript

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Are Americans Getting Enough Mental Down Time

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Life seems to be getting more hectic all the time. The daily schedule of the average American is packed with so many responsibilities at work and at home that it seems like there are never enough hours in the day. While there can be a certain satisfaction in the feeling of being busy and in constant demand there are now more and more Americans who find it difficult to cope and who are in desperate need of some mental down time. The stress of constantly packing more into a day than can reasonable fit is taking its toll.

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Taking a vacation Some are fortunate enough to be able to take time off from work either on a regular basis using personal days to get a bit of relaxation or at least catch up on the backlog of projects and responsibilities at home. Many are also able to take vacations for more extended periods of rest but that’s not always the case. Unlike in the European Union which mandates 20 days of paid vacation annually the U.S. has no federal laws guaranteeing all workers paid leave. Many employers do offer a week or two of paid vacation time but plenty more do not.

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For those who live paycheck to paycheck the financial hardship of taking a time off can be substantial. Even those workers who do get paid time off frequently don’t use it all. Just over half of all Americans leave vacation days unused amounting to hundreds of millions of potential days off each year. Even when folks do take the time to get away research shows that many people are unable to ‘switch off’ from their jobs during their down time and obsessively check and respond to work-related emails from colleagues or clients.

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In our competitive and fast-paced economic environment it seems that Americans have become preoccupied with their working lives to the point where they no longer afford themselves enough time to unwind or be creative in other aspects of their lives. As the stress and tension mount without an outlet the long-term side effects are potentially severe. How important is mental ‘down time’ Most of us understand and appreciate just how important it is to have some time away from our work but the fact that some of us deem our jobs to be of higher

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importance and value than our outside lives means that we are willing to sacrifice a great deal for our careers. In doing so we’re failing to give ourselves an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate ourselves and we risk getting caught in a perpetual cycle of mental exhaustion. Giving our bodies and our minds an adequate break from our over-stimulated environment can even help us to perform better in our work. Down time helps our brain to replenish its ability to retain information and boosts its capacity for productivity motivation and creativity. In theory a vacation such as a yoga

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retreat where exercises are undertaken to help the brain and body unwind can refresh us in ways that have long-lasting benefits. Oftentimes this type of reset can help us to perform better in every aspect of our daily lives not just at work. Why yoga retreats make great down time vacations Regularly performing yoga poses and meditating are proven ways of helping us to connect better with the most genuine aspects of ourselves. This can be a tremendous tool in helping up to reappraise our priorities and focus on what is most important.

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It can help us to see more clearly any negative or self-destructive behaviors that may be holding us back or steering us down the wrong trck. The yoga tradition has a tremendous amount of guidance to offer us beyond the physical poses. In the end the focus of yoga is primarily on mental clarity and calming the mind with the active postures comprising only a part of the path. On a yoga retreat we have the opportunity to explore the practice in greater depth and to integrate the broader teachings of the practice. Not only does a yoga retreat offer relaxation in the moment but also a grander perspective of how to assimilate these lessons into our daily lives once we return.

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Reintegration The act of taking time off to relax and refresh is very important. Just as important however is being able to return with a new perspective and improved skills in coping with our hectic harried lives. It’s easy to fall right back into our former patterns and find ourselves just as stressed as we were before without having any new coping mechanisms or techniques. That’s where it becomes important to integrate the lessons learned while on retreat into our daily lives. With greater perspective and new techniques for reducing stress and calming our minds we can find ways to bring a sense of calm

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and equanimity to handling both our work and personal responsibilities. In this way our down time away on vacation can help us long after we return. Prana del Mar is a premier beachfront yoga retreat center at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula featuring luxurious rooms suites delicious cuisine internationally-acclaimed yoga teachers. Come on a yoga vacation to one of the most beautiful yoga resorts yoga retreats in Mexico. For more details visit us at pranadelmar.com

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