Rest and Rejuvenation in a 24/7 World
I’m writing this in the summer, when the temperature is warm, the days are long, and as the song goes, “the living is easy.”
Why, then, are so many of my clients telling me they don’t have enough downtime and desperately need a break from it all? That’s not supposed to be the case in the summer!
As I think about it, clients share these complaints and worries with me year round. They get maxed out with responsibilities at work and at home that never seem to end. They feel stressed out, ineffective, and unproductive. For many, that feeling never lets up, even in the so-called lazy, hazy days of summer.
People need time to get enough rest and rejuvenation so that they can think more clearly, function better, and feel happy. Rest and rejuvenation are needed to give your body and your nervous system a chance to relax and to reset its balance. If not, that stress, overwhelm, worry, and fear will just keep functioning at chronically-high levels of fight-or-flight thinking, which can become harmful to your physical and emotional health.
Why are so many people running on empty? Why don’t we allow ourselves enough rest and rejuvenation?
We live in a 24/7/365 world
If you’re around my age, do you remember when banks closed at a certain hour, shopping malls were not open on Sundays, television networks signed off at midnight, and you did not carry your phone around with you?
In the world we live in today nothing stops to rest. We can shop online any time of the night or day. We have access to endless information and entertainment 24/7. Time zones don’t mean anything – we can connect with anyone in the world whenever we want.
There is an overabundance of stimulation to take in that makes it difficult to stop or slow down. This is a huge contributor to why people don’t sleep well and why they don’t ever take a break.
Carve out time for rest and play
You have to protect your ability to rest and rejuvenate by carving out time for it. What times during the year and how you do it are personal to you, so find what works best. It might be as simple as:
- Scheduling regular naps
- Taking a leisurely walk
- Meditating or journaling for a few minutes every day
- Putting your feet up and reading a magazine or book
- Going to events or finding things to watch that are enjoyable and calming (avoid anything that will raise your stress levels)
- Doing simple creative or physical activities like roller skating, jigsaw puzzles, playing games, doing crafts, riding your bike
The point is to give your body, nervous system, and brain something else to do. Take your mind off serious things so your body can decompress and renourish itself.
Can’t get off the hamster wheel?
When you’re in the mode of busyness and stress, I know it can be hard to break out of that habit.
But here is the interesting thing about the human mind: The more you are stressed, the more you think you don’t have time to stop – and the less productive you become. Therefore, you are actually wasting time being overly busy, stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed! And if you don’t stop, it will catch up with you.
Think of it this way: If your friend or a family member were to call you and say they had an emergency and needed you right away, wouldn’t you drop everything you were doing and go to help them? Would you feel like it was a waste of time?
Well, it’s not very far from the truth, because when we don’t rest and rejuvenate, we put ourselves in emergency mode – fight-or-flight response IS our body’s emergency mode.
Give yourself permission to stop, play, relax, and rejuvenate – so more of your days can be like a fun, endless summer!