Restore & Replenish
Instructions for Reclaiming You
By Peggy Sullivan, President & Founder of SheCAN!
Your mind and body are always on the go, which can leave you exhausted stressed and overwhelmed. Research indicates that stress has a big toll on your health and wellbeing. It's important to discover the formula you need to fully relax and get the deep mental and physical rest you need to function and perform at your best.
We all need more energy. After this incredibly challenging and draining year we need to replenish ourselves through proper rest. Rest is not the same thing as sleep. Rest is the restorative activity we do that help us refill our tanks. It truly reenergizes us. We live in a society that doesn't know how not to be busy. We're always working and using energy so we're becoming depleted and COVID-19 has made this much worse. We are under a lot of stress from the uncertainty since we don't know what is going to happen six months from now with the virus or with our jobs. There is a lot of anxiety that goes along with this and that is why it is especially important to learn how to get the right type and amount of rest.
When it comes to rest a one size fits all doesn't exist. Everything we do pulls from a different pool of energy the best rest occurs when we receive the specific kinds of energy, we regularly deplete. Here are some examples:
- Creative - This type that inspires and motivates us
- Mental - Quiet your mind and focus on what is important. Physical rest relieve your body of muscle aches and tension and helps improve your sleep.
- Social - You spend time on relationships you cherish and with people who enhance your life
- Sensory - Give us a respite from background noise including negative self-talk and digital devices
- Spiritual - You feel that you are part of something bigger as well as a sense of belonging and fitting.
You may be experiencing a deficit in one or more areas to find out what kind of rest you need to incorporate into your life peek at each of these areas. You'll know what's not working perfectly for you. Once you have identified the areas in which you are coming up short you can start working on building them. Ask yourself "When do I feel energized and restored?" then start finding ways to incorporate that activity in your days. If you find being on the beach helps you restore, research shows that looking at a picture of an image helps as well. Find a photo of a gorgeous peaceful sand beach and use it as your screensaver. Little tweaks like that can go a long way.
Next make it happen
It is important to build up your rest at various points throughout the day so that you are always recharging. A couple of suggestions:
- Meditate for mental rest. Practice meditation such as focusing on a single word, studies show that even for just a few minutes gives your brain a chance to settle down. Going for a run has a similar effect because it's a repetitive activity your brain doesn't have to think about it and you can wander and relax.
- Move for physical rest. It may seem counter intuitive but gently moving improves circulation which makes your body feel better do activities that restore you physically and help you relax. Stretch, do yoga, take a walk: all of these helps ease your aches and help you feel better.
- Share your feelings for emotional and social rest. We feel like we must live up to a certain image of a persona which prevents us from telling other people what is really going on in our lives. We become afraid to be real and vulnerable and that's exhausting. All of us need someone with whom we can be truthful. To be able to say I am not OK. I am anxious. I'm scared. It could be a family member or trusted friend or counselor, otherwise you begin to feel like no one knows the real you and that's a dangerous headspace to be in again, it can lead to depression and other issues.
- Embrace stillness for sensory rest. You are likely experiencing constant overload, but you may not realize it. We live with bright lights and background noise whether its kids yelling, traffic whizzing by or our phones beeping. This all takes a toll. Each day take a few minutes to sit in silence turn off the TV the music and put away your devices at night when you go to bed make sure the room is dark and quiet so you give your senses a chance to fully relax and recharge.
- Get outside for creative rest. Being in nature or just outside evokes inspiration. Some people also get those benefits from going to an art museum listening to a symphony or watching a theater performance. For me, I love coloring or painting. Strange as it sounds, I bought a coloring book with a “CAT BUTTS THEME”. Every time I color in it my inner child comes out. Find what switches your creative juices on and do it.
Finally make work-from-home easier. Do not sit glued to your desk for hours. You'll feel energized and motivated if you practice these two simple techniques.
- Take regular breaks during your workday. Practice what I call flow breaks every 1/2 hour to every two hours. Do you work and really concentrate on it? When the time is set up with an alarm you will not forget if you need to take a few moments and step away from your screen pull your shoulders back and stretch to a few neck rolls. Get up from your chair take a walk, get a glass of water this will help energize you mentally, creatively, and physically.
- Turn off all those notifications that beep. Our phones and computers are an unreal ending source of stress the fight or flight response kicks in whenever one goes off. And over time they will start draining you and leave you fatigued. If you are required to check your email frequently for work honestly… who is it? Try time blocking and setting up three to five periods throughout your day to read and respond to email that way you're not getting the Bing-Bing-Bing-Bing-Bing all day that brings the worst kind of stress out in you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A high energy results-driven individual who is passionate about raising the bar for herself and others. She loves a challenge and believes the pride that comes from achieving a stretch goal is intoxicating, like running her first marathon at 50 years. Peggy has enjoyed executive positions in marketing communications, operations and customer experience at national/international companies like BlueCross BlueShield, United Healthcare, Materion and Benderson Development. Peggy’s blueprint for success is to work hard, be humble and give back. When not at work Peggy loves anything active , spending time with friends and helping others. She is also on the board of Directors for Jewish Center of Buffalo.