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A flip of the calendar doesn’t necessarily mean we’re ready to hit the ground running
The holidays, for many, are not restful at all; far from it. With the year-end push at work, extra social events, extra family time, and an expectation that you are blissfully happy during this “most magical time of year,” is enough to make anyone drop in January.
If you didn’t find time to rest and restore before the strike of midnight on Dec 31, it’s a good idea to find ways to re-energize before contemplating what’s up for this year. Our bodies, brains, and spirits absolutely need it in order to be at our best.
We all need to rest, and it’s not only about sleep
Sleep is great, but it’s far from the only type of rest we need. Consider these other critical ways to restore you to your whole, fabulous self.
Physical rest (the other stuff)
Restorative activities like yoga, stretching, and massage therapy help improve the body’s circulation and flexibility. If you’re curious how your body affects your mental state, check out Dr. Amanda Blake and her fascinating work of “Your Body is Your Brain”. Highly recommended reading.
Do you have trouble turning off your brain when it’s time to rest or sleep? If getting eight hours of sleep doesn’t prevent grogginess in the morning, or if getting 8 hours feels impossible, schedule short breaks every few hours throughout your day. It’ll remind you to slow down. On nights you just can’t get the hamster to stop running, jot down your nagging thoughts that are keeping you awake on a notepad you keep by the bed.
Who’s senses aren’t overwhelmed these days, with bright lights, computer screens, background noise, and simultaneous conversations we carry on?! Try this: in the middle of the day, close your eyes for a minute. A full minute. Literally count to 60. Then, at the end of every day, unplug from electronics; all of ‘em! The key to resting is to be intentional about it. Now that I think of it, being intentional was the topic of my blog last January because I think it’s a great way to approach a new year. You can read it here.
If you do a lot of problem solving, brainstorming, or creation, creative rest is especially important. There’s nothing more effective to get you out of a creative rut than walking away. Do anything other than think about the thing that has you stuck. It’s amazing how when you return to it, your perspective has shifted or clarified.
Feeling unappreciated? Unheard? Are you stifling your emotions so you don’t come off as disagreeable or unhelpful? Try expressing how you really feel, which will free up the energy you typically use to be someone you aren’t.
After the holidays, you may especially need this one. Think about the relationships that energize you vs. those that exhaust you, and intentionally (there’s that word again) surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Or take a break from people altogether until you feel centred again.
I don’t mean you need to connect with a higher power, I’m talking about engaging in something greater than yourself, like adding community involvement, mindfulness, meditation, or prayer to your routine. It’s helpful to connect beyond the physical and mental, to feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose.
What intention will you set for rest?
Think about the month ahead, or the next week, or even just today! And don’t bite off all 7 types of rest in one go; choose one you believe you can do. I’m going to start with committing to unplugging at the end of every day this week. Wish me luck!