“Rest and be thankful.”
― William Wordsworth
It’s a vicious circle. You get exhausted. Driven to the zenith of your capacity. So, you crash. And, still feel incorrigibly tired.
Sleep is a bodily function. Rest, is more than that. Rest, is to help you grow out of your exhaustion, and thrive at what keeps you going.
According to physician Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Renew Your Sanity, humans need physical, mental, social, creative, emotional, spiritual, and sensory rest.
Rest should equal restoration in these seven key areas of your life.
You’ll know if you’re physically exhausted: You struggle to keep awake. You find even the slightest of movement, exhausting. Catching up on physical rest can also mean taking deep breaths during the workday, or squeezing in a restorative yoga class to give your body some time to stretch. More energy (and less yawning) should be a pretty obvious sign that it’s working.
Ever felt like your brain’s turned to a puddle? Then you know what it’s like to need mental rest. You may realize you’ve been staring at the same document for 30 minutes, or Perhaps you notice your thoughts starting to turn negative, judging everything you do. The next time you need a mental break, turn off your screens and take a few moments to ground yourself. You might try adding a meditation to your day or simply repeating a calming mantra.
Socializing is a chore, when you need rest. Sometimes, you badly need to fly solo. Everyone is fighting their own battle, so take a step back. Disconnect. Log out your Zoom calls or Facetime and Reconnect with yourself.
So, you’re right brained, a creator , an innovator. You love the rush that comes from brainstorming sessions, or even love planning your bestie’s baby shower. What you need is creative rest. Yes.
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ― The Life of Pi
Master the art of doing nothing for a bit. Walk out, stare at the trees, watch the butterfly at play at the flower patch. Replenish those drained nerves. There is inspiration, exactly where you haven’t bothered looking.
Talk. To anyone. To a friend. To a therapist. There is a lot of anxiety, around the uncertainty that these tough times have brought upon us. Bottling up those thoughts, have led to disasters we have seen around us. You feel you are stronger, by ‘dealing’ with the feeling, but you are in fact worsening it.
We all need some grounding. Some anchoring, when we feel too, well, floaty. Or alone. You need spiritual rest. Hey, no offence, to the atheist reading this. We aren’t here to preach. But, turn to something that evokes a sense of purpose. Something that can give you some context. Volunteering however you can, might help you find that spark, as could chatting with a friend about the current state of the world.
Sensory exhaustion is one of the most prevalent drainers thanks to the prevalence of screens, Dalton-Smith says. In her practice, she’s seen it cause “a lot of eye strain and neck tension, and a lot of divorces and broken relationships,” she says. “It becomes easier to talk to the computer…That breaks intimacy, and overtime, it breaks relationships.”
Catch up on sensory rest by putting aside the technology and stepping outside for fresh air, if you’re able to do so. Check in with yourself before reaching for the remote on nights “off”—is staring at a screen really the rest you need?
You might consider a walk, or a good, Mills and Boons to just take you into a world where it’s all good lookin!
So as Bansky says – “If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.”