A social worker said that breaks, rests and time to rejuvenate are key to overall health and wellness. And you don’t need an overseas vacation to do it.

If a relaxing vacation is something that helps you rejuvenate, there are still some things you can do during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid burnout from working from home or keeping your kids busy this summer.

Kaiser Permanente social worker Erin VanLuven said that breaks, rests and time to rejuvenate are key to overall health and wellness. And you don’t need an overseas vacation to do it.

“Start small,” VanLuven said. This includes taking small steps, such as building in 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon, or taking an hour to yourself on the weekend.

It could also be something simple like, “setting your phone in a drawer when you go for a walk outside or ride your bike with your kids or your family,” VanLuven said.

Taking small, incremental breaks over time is helpful, but she said it’s also important to make sure that you’re using your vacation time or building in longer breaks away from things.

In U.S. culture, there is pride in being hardworking, but VanLuven said that short and long breaks are beneficial to health.

“High-stress levels contribute to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes. All those things that can really cause us to be at risk for long-term illness and shortened life span,” VanLuven said.

And short and long breaks, along with rest and self-care, help you decompress.

“To rest, our brain needs sleep; it needs time away from social media and computers and emails,” and without these, “We could actually seriously be reducing our life span,” VanLuven said.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.


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