Stop for health

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

CNN -- Remember when holidays meant a time to relax, to kick back and enjoy being off with friends and family?

Now with crazy work schedules, 24-hour Christmas sales, electronic gadgets beeping all day long and the constant go, go, go, we never stop and some experts say, that's not good for our health.

We need to embrace a day of peace. Why?

The idea of having a day of rest has biblical roots. Even God took time off on the seventh day. But today, the world is a different place. We are a 24-7 planet, with long work weeks, and to-do lists that never end. And at some point, health experts say, we need to slow down.

"Everyone needs a stop day," says Dr. Matthew Sleeth. "For some that may involve going to church or synagogue. For some that may mean doing the New York Times crossword puzzle."

Sleeth, a former emergency room physician and author of the book "24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life," has examined the reasons we should all take a day off.

"We are pouring out catecholamines, which are those kind of fright-or-flight hormones that are stress hormones," he said.

Those stress hormones take a toll on our bodies.

"They give us higher blood pressure. They increase anxiety, depression, that sort of thing," Sleeth explained.

So how can we stop? Sleeth suggests cutting out some of the time-wasting habits.

  • Get your nose out of your computer.
  • Prioritize what's important to you and take that day off.
  • Even eating your food slowly helps you enjoy life in a more healthy way.
  • And cut out the multi-tasking, at least at home.

"There's a saying that the point of life isn't to see how fast you can get through it," Sleeth said.

So, breathe.