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Are you getting enough rest?

We often engage in unhealthy, overly busy work habits and then justify ourselves by saying “I’ll rest on the weekend”. We work ourselves into the ground, burn the social candle at both ends, get seduced by the addictive blue light of our screens at night, and often self-medicate with an alcoholic ‘reward’. It would take the 100-year rest of Sleeping Beauty to repair our systems under those conditions! Even the relaxing benefits of annual holidays only last for a few weeks before we are back on the ‘treadmill’ of work and life, potentially feeling exhausted and overwhelmed again.
Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith is a physician, work-life integration researcher and author. She believes that getting sufficient, good quality sleep is only one of the seven elements in being relaxed and well rested.

Physical rest is the most obvious type of rest that we all do with varying degrees of success. 4 out of 10 Australians suffer from inadequate sleep and this is linked to a loss of productivity and even death.
Physical rest can be taken in both an active and a passive manner. Passive rest might mean taking
a nap and active physical rest might include yoga or meditation.

Many people spend large chunks of time watching TV, on computers and other devices working and using social media throughout the day and night. Sensory rest is needed to avoid the overload of blue screen, bright lights, discordant sound, and manic ‘energy’. It’s vital to limit screen time especially in the hour before bedtime so that your brain can produce the melatonin needed for sleep.

Multi-tasking has become the norm for many people both professionally and personally. Unfortunately, research shows that it’s like having too many tabs open in our brain so sustained multi-tasking can lead to stress, confusion and decision fatigue. Mental rest is required to ‘reboot’ the brain and optimise the REM sleep. The simple act of ‘brain dumping’ onto a journal or list helps shut down mental chatter.

Dealing with emotions can be challenging, and engaging with other people’s issues on top of our own can be draining. When friends, family, work colleagues, customers and clients bring their emotional energy to us, providing empathic support can demand a lot from our systems. We need to ‘re-charge’ by allowing our own emotions to be recognised and felt. Surrounding ourselves with positive people and a calm environment also provides us with emotional rest. Journaling or speaking with a trusted confidant about how we feel, can also put our emotional storm in perspective.

Creative rest is when we allow ourselves time and space to access inspiration. Daydreaming, vision boarding, doodling, writing, visualizing, listening to music, drawing, reading and being in nature all refill your creative reserves. This is important for all of us because we are constantly called to brainstorm ideas, solve problems, and create innovative solutions to personal and professional situations.

The roles we play in life are often associated with responsibility, expectations, and obligations. Some
relationships, like being a parent or leader, demand a lot of our attention, time, and energy. Other relationships are more easy going and offer mutual support. When we constantly engage with people who we allow to drain our energy, we can feel emotionally tired and even resentful. It is important to prioritise social rest with the people who allow you to be fully authentic and relaxed.

Spiritual rest may be faith or community based and is related to the sense of peace and comfort we experience when we belong to something bigger than ourselves and are contributing to the greater good. This type of rest can be felt through presence with nature, religious or spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer.

So, now that you’ve finished reading, turn off the computer and head off for a delicious nap!