The typical daily grind is enough to push people to the edge. The commuting, the deadlines, the meetings, and the financial crunch. The overall stress is draining. This daily routine contributes to poor health, both physical and mental. It may also feel like you are not living to your fullest potential with all that stress.
As a clinical social worker there are techniques we promote to reduce stress. These techniques include exercise , healthy eating, meditation, talk therapy, etc. If done correctly these tools can certainly increase well-being and ease the repetition of the “daily grind”.
But, let’s be realistic for a minute. These stress reduction techniques can be come repetitive themselves. Chores, if you will. Then the stress picks up right where it left off. What do we do then? Are we just screwed? Should we just continue to fill our veins with caffeine? Absolutely not! Sometimes we just need to get away.
Whether it be a few minutes or a few weeks, removing your self from everyday life is absolutely crucial to well-being. Some people see the need for a vacation as a failure or a sign of weakness. In contrast, it’s an intelligent and healthy decision.
As I return from a bike trip to Austin, TX I am reminded that I can feel relaxed, it’s possible. I took two days to ride my bike from Houston to Austin and then spent the next five days exploring the city by bike. I put work aside and did away with a schedule. I met locals, ate BBQ, and just rode my bike. It was beautiful.
In addition to being away geographically, having the bike by my side was revitalizing. It was a source of comfort in a new place. It took me all over the city. The bike allowed me to de-stress and focus on the moment. (For more on de-stressing peep Brain Traffic). Being away coupled with the freedom of my bike allowed me to re-charge. I now feel ready to get back to the daily grind. I feel excited. Removing myself by bike was the best decision I could have made.
PS I am also aware that some people don’t have the luxury of vacation days or the financial means to travel. That’s ok. Even being able to remove yourself for five minutes is beneficial. So work with what you got. Go for a ride!
HEALTHY BIKE HEALTHY BRAIN