I believe that here in the US we operate on a fully engaged life. Mostly because of technology, we have learned not to disconnect from work.
As the old saying goes, just because you can does not mean you should. With the holiday season upon us I started thinking about carving out some time to rest and reflect.
BUT all rest is not equal…
The first type of rest we will discuss is physical rest. What is interesting about physical rest is that most people would define it as passive. Well, rest can also be active.
Passive rest could be sleeping or taking an afternoon nap. You find a comfortable place and you snuggle up with a nice blanky. Your body recovers some of the sleep you denied yourself by going full out.
Active physical rest can also restore you. It involves you in activities that improve your body’s flexibility and blood circulation. Activities such as stretching, yoga, or even a message would provide that rest. You are not looking for a heart-pounding workout but a gentle restorative activity.
So now that you got your body rested…
Mental rest is the second type of rest. Our jobs in theory should only occupy 8 hours of our mental effort. BUT extensive need to concentrate and a constant stream of tasks that need to be done places our brains into overload.
God bless coffee!!!
This level of work ultimately results in people having a short fuse and irritability. Combine mental with physical deficiencies and our ability to perform quality work suffers.
What is even more tragic is that because of our level of engagement, our sleep is filled with replays of the day's activities. So even if you get the prescribed 7–8 hours of sleep, you might have spent a considerable of time rehashing mental efforts and scenarios. Ultimately you feel tired even though you rested.
The way to improve your mental rest level is to schedule breaks every 90–120 minutes. Get a healthy snack, walk around, remind yourself to slow down a bit. And at night when you feel your mind racing, get up write down a few ideas and get back to sleep.
The sensory rest is the third type of rest that is needed. Technology is a big contributor to mental overload. Our tools such as computers, big screens, phones are all utilizing our senses. Late-night use of screen time does not allow us to enter the restful sleep as quickly as we would simply reading a book.
During the day we should make it a habit that a couple of times an hour to close our eyes, open them and look away from the screens. And simply at the end of the day becoming unavailable. The world does not end if a decision is not made at 7 p.m. It can wait till morning.
We have to be intentional in not using our phones and other electronic devices for at least one whole day on the weekend. A device sabbath where we spend time with people instead of staring at a screen. This will help to reduce our simulation level. We must be intentional in depriving ourselves of sensory inputs.
My favorite type of rest is the fourth type- creative rest. I can not think of any role in most organizations that is not requiring people to solve problems. This requires creativity and brainstorming.
To excel in creativity and brainstorming, you have to allow yourself time away from solving problems. Exposing yourself to nature, art, music, and people to recharge and expose yourself to different thinking. Introducing new sources of information, people, and views will improve the quality of ideas and your ability to solve creatively.
We are energy beings. One of the energies that we often drain is emotional. Emotional rest is the fifth type of rest that is needed. Our lives are spent creating and dealing with feelings and at times people's drama. Daily we often struggle to express our feelings freely and truly authentic.
Emotions can lift us or bring us down BUT stepping away from dealing with them allows us to get clarity and re-charge. Getting some social distance helps that process.
The one energy that we don’t often think of draining is spiritual energy. We are spirits having a human experience. Not human beings having a spiritual experience.
Spiritual energy ties all these energies together. It takes our physical and mental energies and connects them to love, acceptance, belonging, and purpose. It is more than just about us. We must be a part of something greater. We must be of service to others.
We recharge this type of energy by getting involved in our communities. It could be daily prayer or meditation that helps us to reconnect with the source. It is not about recharging the spirit and connection once per year. We must nurture the spirit energy daily. That connection to the source must never get rusty.
Recharge your energies by getting some rest.