When we think about indulgence, exercise and meditation aren’t necessarily the first things that come to mind. But sometimes “indulging ourselves” simply means doing what’s best for our physical and mental well-being.
Too often work and family responsibilities pull us in all directions, leaving us no time to focus on meeting our own needs. But not only do we want time to unwind, connect with others, exercise, and rejuvenate, we need it! There is a proven link between physical and mental health. When we are ill, stressed, anxious, or upset, our bodies alert us that something isn’t right.
At AdventureWomen, we firmly believe in cultivating physical, emotional, and mental health by offering a blend of physical activity, camaraderie, and relaxation on all our trips.
Here we explore the important links between mental and physical health and 5 ways that you can use these to your advantage:
1| Cultivate connections
Did you know just how important friendship and social connections are to ensuring your well-being? As humans, we have evolved to survive through our connections. Yet research shows that our current social, technological, and professional structures are leading to greater loneliness. Loneliness exacerbates stress and raises cortisol levels, which can increase the risk of serious health problems such as infections, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression. As the New York Times notes, “loneliness is as important a risk factor for early death as obesity and smoking.”
One of the best ways to combat this trend is to expand your social circle and travel with like-minded, supportive women! Some of comments we hear time and again from our guests are about the incredible camaraderie and lifelong friendships they form on AdventureWomen trips.
“My musings on what was the best part? #1, without hesitation, was to be in the company of 13 smart,
FUNNY, interesting, warm, loving and all around incredible women, in a situation where bonding
was immediate and without hesitation. We never competed, we never judged.” – Janice F.
The rewards of cultivating more and deeper connections with others are significant: lower stress levels, greater happiness, more resilience, and better overall physical and emotional well-being.
2| Laugh more
Laughter really is the best medicine! Humor plays an important role in emotional and psychological health. Studies have shown that laughter and humor can help to significantly reduce pain and stress levels as well as boost the immune system to prevent colds and infections. Not only is laughing together one of the quickest ways to bond with others, but it’s contagious. The best part is that laughter is never in short supply on AdventureWomen trips.
3| Stay active: go play
Staying active and exercising at any age is critical to long-term physical health. The research on this is comprehensive and well-known. Among many other benefits, aerobic exercise (hiking, for example) keeps you physically fit and can improve your mood. But staying active and healthy doesn’t have to be another chore! With your fellow Adventure Women, exercising can be fun, too. Get in touch with your inner child by whitewater rafting the rapids of the Salmon River and experiencing the simple thrill of getting splashed by a wave, and then indulge in an evening of stories around a campfire – complete with s’mores!
4| Practice resilience
People who are resilient are better equipped to cope with stress and setbacks. As women, we have more opportunity to practice resilience because we face a variety of challenges, burdens, and expectations, and some different from the men in our lives. Some strategies for building resilience include strengthening your social support network, being compassionate with yourself, accepting change, and keeping things in perspective. We know that as an Adventure Woman you have all the tools you need to succeed in the face of a setback. As you develop greater resilience, you will also see your physical and mental health improve. You can read more on this important topic here.
5| Relax: calm your mind and your body
There’s a reason why Adventure Women practice so much yoga! Yoga is a total mind-body practice that involves physical activity, meditation, rhythmic breathing, and ancient philosophy. It’s so effective because it not only stimulates the body, but it also releases tension, lowers cortisol levels, and promotes relaxation. Indeed, yoga and meditation – which involves practicing mindfulness and deep breathing – can have a considerable, positive impact on mental health. Taking the time to practice yoga now could lower your risk of developing physical and mental health problems in the future.
Ultimately, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to try to find a balance in your life. It’s not easy, but simplifying routines, making time for yourself, and relaxing can go a long way toward strengthening your mental and physical well-being. So take care of your body, pay attention to how you are feeling, and indulge yourself!
“Loneliness Is Bad for Your Health”
“The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Health”
“How Social Isolation Is Killing Us”
“Research on the Role of Humor in Well-Being and Health”
“Connecting the Dots between Physical and Emotional Health”
“Why Hiking Is the Perfect Mind-Body Workout”
The Emotional Life of your Brain