4 ways to prioritize rest in these tumultuous times
When I found out humans need ten hours of rest a day my reaction was like Joey from Friends….
“Are you kidding me?” No wonder I’d suffered from burnout in my early 20s. I was absolutely NOT resting ten hours a day.
The most interesting part is that is isn’t a “nice to have”… it is a MUST have. Our body needs that much rest, just like we need to breathe, eat and drink water to stay alive. If we don’t rest 10 hours a day consistently, our bodies will revolt. This is when burnout, illness, sickness and many more physical ailments show up– forcing our bodies to LITERALLY take rest.
In our shifting, constantly on a device, modern 21st century world, achieving this level of rest can be very difficult. ESPECIALLY because it isn’t really prioritized or celebrated, especially in our jobs. [At least when I was in the corporate world.] People were praised for responding to a late night email and for working through the weekend.
AND we have more than just that to worry about. If you live in the US we are in a global pandemic (for almost a year), in an economic crisis, a politically polarized election, a racial justice movement, and in a perpetual state of chronic uncertainty, anxiety, etc.
Even if you don’t live in the USA, you’ve probably experienced some variation (or maybe more) of the things listed above.
So, how can we take small steps to shift this for ourselves. Below I’ve made us a list to discuss how we can prioritize rest.
1) Stick to a sleep routine (waking up and going to bed at the same time)
My partner was glued to the T.V. until the wee hours of the morning over here in Switzerland when there was the attack on the capital. It is definitely important to be informed and to also be wary of how that might be impacting our well-being. Sleep is the foundation to getting 10 hours of rest a day. (You don’t need to sleep 10 hours.. unless that’s your thing). As soon as we stop prioritizing our sleep, we stop prioritizing our rest.
The best way to ensure good sleep hygiene is to get into a sleep routine which includes waking up and going to bed at as close to the same time as possible.
2) Check out limiting beliefs around rest
This is an opportunity to confront beliefs like rest is a reward, not a birthright. Other limiting beliefs around rest might be: If I rest then I am selfish. If I rest then the project won’t get finished, no one else can take it on, etc. If I rest then I won’t be viewed as a hard worker. The list goes on and on. If you are noticing a limiting belief that is coming up for you as you think about incorporating more rest into your life, then you need to work with it.
You can journal about it and ask yourself questions like, “Who would I be if I believed this?” or “Who would I be if I didn’t believe it?”. You can also work with a therapist to get to the core of these limiting beliefs and transform them for good. Clients I’ve worked with have been able to experience major shifts in their lives (a better relationship, more satisfying work, etc) from some limiting belief work we’ve done together.
3) Decide what kind of rest you need and what you want it to look like
There are different kinds of rest and asking yourself what you need can be so helpful. For example, do you need to spend time off a screen? Do you need physical sleep? Did you need space to be one your own? Do you need rest from work? Once you decide what kind of rest you need, think about what you want it to look like.
For example, If I were to answer this question, I would say,I need space to be on my own. I would want it to look like me resting under a blanket with a book in my hand and some tea. I would ask my partner if he would be okay with giving me some space while I took some time alone and I would put my phone in airplane mode.
Set yourself up for success, friends!
4) Schedule it in to your calendar
If you are a planner like me then it may not happen unless you schedule it. So go ahead and ACTUALLY put it in your calendar. If scheduling isn’t your thing and you want to follow more intuitive check-ins, I would recommend either starting your day or ending your day (or both) with a check in. Ask yourself, “What kind of rest do I need today/right now? What do I want it to look like?”