STRONGER TOGETHER: How to rest for optimal wellbeing

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"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

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

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.

Physical rest

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.

Sensory rest

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.

Mental rest

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.

Emotional rest

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

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.

Social Rest

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

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.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on time and how spending it doesn't have to feel like a loss.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Noticed yourself or others talking about how quickly the year’s gone? If so, you’re not alone.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

In today’s fast-moving world, it feels like we’re losing time – we simply don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to do the things we need to do.

These feelings of loss associated with how quickly time flies, are aligned to a scarcity mindset.

It’s easy to lose yourself in this state-of-mind amid the daily hustle of work and life. Without realising it, we start to articulate this as experiencing loss or lacking something. These thoughts can be insidious, and they can creep into other areas of our life.

Viewing ourselves, our situation, and opportunities that come our way through a scarcity lens, can seem like everything is a ‘win-lose’ situation.

But what if we turned this into a ‘win-win?’

For many, their waking hours are largely consumed by work, with precious little time available to check off things on the ‘to do’ list, much less engage in wellbeing activities like exercise or socialising.

So, is a lack of time the issue, or the feelings associated with how we do spend our time?

Everyone gets 24hrs a day, and a choice about how that time’s spent. Work, childcare responsibilities, volunteering, medical appointments and household duties dictate our time be spent in certain ways, but this isn’t necessarily a loss of time.

By using the phrase ‘I get to’ rather than ‘I have to’ flips the script on loss and instead immediately increases the value to something we want to invest our time into. 

Deliberately scheduling your time or imagining every minute has a dollar value, and therefore needs to be allocated well is another means to reduce this feeling of scarcity.

As is, including engaging activities that leave you feeling less busy and stressful, especially when feeling ‘stuck in the daily grind’.

What we want is to experience the feelings that come with these changes, and the shift in mindset from scarcity to a place filled with abundance.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on our perception of stress and urgency.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Perception is one of the many simple complexities that can influence our emotional response to a task, situation, or circumstance.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

We might notice our perception of stress or urgency becomes elevated due to external factors, usually things happening to us that we can’t control or avoid. These may be work deadlines, social activities or family responsibilities. What seems like an endless to-do list can evoke a heightened sense of stress.

Currently, for me, it’s yellow post-it notes. I’m reaching for them whenever I want to jot down something I need to do, have an idea to research, etc - you get the gist. Anything and everything lands on a sticky note, and by the end of the week, I’m swimming in a sea of them!!

This ocean of notes sends a wave of stress over me, I feel like I’ve got a mountain of work to do and can start to feel overwhelmed.

But we can reframe this perception into what is real. For sticky notes, I use the 4-D’s (do it, delete it, delegate it, or defer it) at the end of the week to determine ‘what is’ - regaining a sense of reality and control. My goal is to compile one list of priorities that guide my focus for the following week.

While sometimes our stress is real and we need to respond immediately; sometimes, it’s from external factors as a matter of perception. And we have the power to change our perception.

When familiar feelings of stress and urgency start to rise, pause, and take notice of what you are experiencing. Perhaps ask yourself ‘what else could be true?’

My sticky notes could be a sign I’ve had lots of inspirational thoughts, or I’ve had some great conversations with people who’ve inspired me to note something down.

They don’t necessarily contain things I need to do.

Giving yourself space to get clarity and shift your perception can reduce the impact on your emotional state and start to reduce the levels of stress you’re experiencing.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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