"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses how to rest for optimal wellbeing.
By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea
How do you feel now that Christmas and New Year celebrations are done and dusted for another year?
You’ve had a chance to reflect on the past year and step forward into 2023, and it’s now a good time to take a moment to check in with yourself and feel what your body needs. At this time of year, many people feel like they need a good rest!
Many of us roll into each January feeling fluffy, lethargic and both emotionally and physically drained, even if you’ve had time off. Shouldn’t we feel rested, refreshed, and ready to take on the new year?
Festive burnout is very real, so January is the perfect time to rest and prepare for the year ahead.
But rest doesn’t mean you have to completely stop. It’s not just about crawling into bed and snoozing away to your heart’s content, though that’s part of the bigger picture. According to the Australian HR Institute, there are seven types of rest, and we need all of them to feel truly refreshed and well. Try incorporating these types of rest into your day-to-day life and notice if you feel an improvement in your energy levels and wellness.
Rest can be passive or active. Good quality sleep is important and having a solid sleep routine which incorporates waking up and going to bed at similar times each day will support your body’s natural circadian rhythm. For active rest, consider stretching or adding yoga into your daily routine.
When was the last time you switched off all your devices? Most of us probably can’t remember, but being switched on 24/7 can be exhausting. Like devices, bright lights, conversations, and background noise can all play into sensory overstimulation. Unplug for a set timeframe, or in the middle of the day simply closing your eyes for a minute or two can help.
Is your mind constantly racing? Think of your brain like an internet browser – if there are too many tabs open, you can’t rest! Brain dumping can be useful in helping to quiet your mind. Keep a notebook handy – on your desk or on your bedside table – and take a moment to write down all your thoughts.
Sometimes putting the world to rights with a friend or debriefing with a colleague can have a huge impact on your ability to rest, and your overall wellbeing. This can be particularly important if you work in a customer facing role where you are required to deal with people’s problems and be ‘on’ all the time. Brain dumping can also be a useful tool if you’ve got things on your mind.
Creative rest is about finding the wonder in life and getting inspired by the beauty of the world around us. Take some time to get outdoors and take it all in. Fill your living space and office with plants and hang some beautiful art that you love where you will see it often.
Do your relationships revive or exhaust you? Who are the people in your life who fill you with energy and fill your cup? Surround yourself with positive, supportive people and make sure you carve out time to be with these people.
Spiritual rest doesn’t have to be about religion. It’s about filling your cup through connection and feeling a sense of love, purpose and belonging, whatever that may look like for you. Community involvement, prayer and meditation are all wonderful additions for your daily routine that promote spiritual rest.
I encourage you to incorporate these types of rest into your day-to-day life so you can benefit from feeling more energetic and have a greater sense of wellbeing each day.