In today’s fast paced, let’s say more capitalistic world, we are constantly on the go, striving for continual improvement. In society we are always talking about growth and working hard, which has resulted in the formation of new buzz words like grind culture. It seems as if we are dissuaded from taking things slow or having breaks. It is more acceptable to talk about how tired we are, as if it were a badge of honour to be overly busy and unable to function without the extra caffeine.
The idea that we are only valuable if we are achieving, creating and producing is harmful for everyone, but more so for people who exist on the margins.
This trending lifestyle of busyness does have some benefits in that it can provide us with a multitude of achievements, stories of success. However in the long term, it is not sustainable and can lead to burn out. If we do not pay attention to our minds and bodies and deny ourselves of rest and relaxation, we can find ourselves getting sick with deteriorating health.
So what is rest, and is it different to relaxation? Could we have one without the other? Rest is a bodily state characterised by minimal functional and metabolic activities, where work or movement are ceased in order to sleep, or to recover strength. Without sufficient sleep, our bodies can suffer a variety of physical and psychological impacts, including; impaired memory, poor concentration, low stress threshold, and reduced sociability.
Relaxation on the other hand can be defined as the release of tension and the refreshment of the mind or body, it is a process of rejuvenation. Relaxation occurs whilst we are awake, and involves us engaging in activities that we enjoy. It has been shown to improve our mood and cognitive functioning, lowering the risk of both depression and anxiety. Additionally, when we relax, we boost our immunity and improve our ability to cope with adversity.
Wellness Strategy Tip - Rest and relaxation work hand in hand; one is not mutually exclusive from the other. Therefore, it is important that we invest time in both rest and relaxation, in order to optimise our mental and physical health.
Create a sustainable lifestyle full of rest and restoration, ideas below.
Physical - Passive physical rest includes sleeping and napping, while active physical rest means restorative activities such as yoga, stretching and massage therapy that help improve the body’s circulation and flexibility.
Mental - Schedule short breaks to occur every two hours throughout your workday; these breaks can remind you to slow down. You might also keep a notepad by the bed to jot down any nagging thoughts that would keep you awake.
Sensory - Bright lights, computer screens, background noise and multiple conversations — whether they’re in an office or on Zoom calls — can cause our senses to feel overwhelmed. This can be countered by doing something as simple as closing your eyes for a minute in the middle of the day, as well as by intentionally unplugging from electronics at the end of every day.
Creative -This reawakens the awe and wonder inside each of us. Allowing yourself to take in the beauty of the outdoors or enjoy the arts. Turn your workspace into a place of inspiration by displaying images of places you love and works of art that speak to you.
Emotional. Give yourself the time and space to freely express your feelings and cut back on people pleasing. Practice tuning into your emotions regularly.
Social. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Even if your interactions have to occur virtually, you can choose to engage more fully in them by turning on your camera and focusing on who you’re speaking to.
Spiritual. Engage in something greater than yourself and add prayer, meditation or community involvement to your daily routine.
Make rest and relaxation a priority, do not be afraid to listen to your body and take time out for yourself. Remember: In order to give your best, you have to be at your best. If you do not look after yourself, no one is going to do that for you.
If you are experiencing difficulties engaging in rest and relaxation, or find yourself stressed or burnt out, we can support you. With coaching there are a variety of highly effective strategies available that can help in managing stress, difficulties sleeping, or engaging in relaxation. With expertise in behaviour change, a coach is the perfect partner for those who want to change their relationship with rest and restoration.
Evolvexplore is are a professional, emac accredited coaching company. Our coaches are trained to listen with an objective, compassionate, non-judgmental ear. We are uniquely skilled to help you uncover the obstacles preventing you from getting the ever important rest and relaxation. If you would like further information, comment below or get in touch via email, or message through our website. Start your self care journey today.