So much time is spent increasing our productivity, getting things done, crossing things off our to do lists. We cannot forget the importance of rest and relaxation. Time spent doing nothing, recharging or enjoying our life is never wasted time. We will talk about self care in a couple of weeks, but I felt that this needed its own week even if it is part of your self care practice.
Part of health and wellness is taking time to recharge our batteries – we cannot keep running on fumes and expect to live a good life.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Are you getting enough down time to relax and do nothing or do the things you enjoy (with no great purpose) – go for an aimless walk, sip a cup of coffee (not while doing 3 other things), just hang out with those you care about…?
In case this is an area you struggle with here are some tips to getting on track with rest and relaxation:
Is stress what’s keeping you up at night ?
- Try keeping a notebook by your bedside to brain dump whatever is bothering you – put it aside and know there is nothing to do just then and tackle it again in the morning
- Think about if you need to ask for help and lighten your burdens a little
Do you struggle to be unproductive?
- Let go of guilt and understand that resting is part of being healthy and taking care of our mental and physical health. Your body and mind need time to rest.
- Allow yourself down time, to be idle and trust that you have done enough already and will do more later – enjoy the moments you do take for yourself so they are at least not wasted in the truest sense of the word
Are you getting the right amount of sleep?
- Everyone has different sleep needs, figure out your optimal amount and work backwards from your usual start time to decide nightly bedtime.
- Shut down media / tech as early as possible (my own ongoing goal is earlier bedtime and shutting off technology before 10:30pm)
Define relaxation for yourself
- Similar to self care this is unique to you – do you prefer to relax and unwind alone or with other people (or both depending on the day or time), need nature or quiet or activities… Plan it in to your routines if you don’t naturally take time to just relax.
- Carve out time for yourself that suits your needs and moods. In my case I start the day with relaxation to set the tone for the day and to know that no matter how the day unfolds I secured sometime for my own pleasure already (and allow for more later on if time allows). I start almost every weekday with coffee and a book in bed until I have to get up to start the day with the kids. This may not last forever but for now I am savouring this time. As life changes I will adapt but always carve out times for my own rejuvenation.
For more ideas see my full blog post outlining my top 10 tips for better sleep and better health.
Challenge this week: Again, start where you are and decide on where you need to go. Pick one thing to change now and make a plan for yourself. Will you commit to trying a set (earlier) bedtime every night for the week (and write about the difference it made), or cut out caffeine in the afternoon and evening? Will you exercise (for better sleep), schedule in some breaks for yourself or put a notebook by your bedside? What change do you think would benefit you the most? Remember that it takes time to build new habits so do not beat yourself up if you miss days here and there or struggle with moving a bedtime (try 15 minutes earlier each night if you need to go far to get to your ideal time).
Find your simple,
Image credit: flickr user Joe Shlabotnik
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