Let’s face it, we live in a culture that values those who work, work, work and then work some more. And the more you work, the more heroic you are, the more dedicated you seem and the more awarded and applauded you are.
However, there is a movement on the rise that is sparking a pushback against this. A famous face behind this resistance is co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, who wrote a book, The Sleep Revolution, all about the importance of sleep after she collapsed and woke up in a pool of her own blood (due to a broken cheekbone). When her doctors told her she collapsed from the sheer exhaustion of only sleeping three to four hours a night, that was her wake up call and she has been touting the benefits of a proper nights’ sleep ever since.
Rest is also a non-negotiable for the world’s top athletes. It is just as important in their routine as training and nutrition. Science is very clear on the serious health impact that a lack of sleep causes. We need to treat sleep not as an IF but as a MUST; as something that we must have in our schedules, just like any other appointment or task that has to happen in our day.
Oprah famously said that women suffer from the, “disease to please” and it is literally draining us. We need to start setting up healthy boundaries that allow us to fully unplug, spend time with our families and friends, reflect, engage in our communities and, not to get too woo-woo, but do things that nourish our souls through activities that make us deeply happy.
Doing these things is so important to keep us functioning at our highest level and to stop compromising our health. The level of stress we’re exposed to these days is unparalleled and it is wreaking havoc on our hormones, it causes disease and even affects the quality of our relationships. Let’s counteract these effects and find ourselves again.
So how do we do this?
1. Turn Off Technology
Literally, turn it off. Try it. Turn off the notifications on your phone and just have the ringer on if you have to as your alarm clock but ideally, buy an actual alarm clock and get the phone out of your bedroom. It will be a process so start slow and try to decrease your screen time as much as you can.
2. Adopt “Slow Sundays”
I started doing “Slow Sundays” awhile ago and it has been a game changer! I have chosen a timeframe of a few hours each Sunday and during that time my phone is off and those hours are centred around things that make me feel good. And while I know there are always items to be check off the never-ending to-do lists, “Slow Sundays” aren’t for cleaning out the garage or organizing the closets, they’re for focusing on activities that allow you to rest and rejuvenate and feel better, which takesme to my next point…
3. Explore Hobbies
Having hobbies often goes away as we get older because we have other obligations and don’t prioritize anything outside of our day-to-day tasks. But hobbies are so important! Their sole purpose is to bring us joy. They can also connect us with people with similar interests.
When asked, many adults will say they don’t have a hobby. But if an activity brings you joy and you lose yourself in it and leave it feeling nourished, then it is a hobby and everyone has something, or can find something, to do that makes them feel that way.
If you can’t think of anything now, then take some time tothink about what you enjoy doing and start making more time for it. It can be as simple as walking, cooking, reading or knitting. From a scientific standpoint you might think you’re just doing something fun and useless but it’s actually fantastic because hobbies allow us to use different parts of the brain, which is good for our total capacity for productivity, and ultimately, for our sense of self.
4. Schedule It!
What gets scheduled gets done! Schedule your rest time and your time to “fill up your soul tank” as one of my dearest friends calls it.
Think of your brain like your phone battery; if too many apps are open, it starts to drain the battery and operate slower. So give your mind some time to truly just be so it can get back to full operating capacity.
Your rest and rejuvenation time can be solo or with others, whatever leaves you feeling the most energized. But no matter the activity, consistency is the key.
Don’t look for perfection; it’s a work in progress.
The benefits are so worth it
By taking time for ourselves we’re improving our health by really re-charging our batteries, which allows us to be more available to others, lowers our stress levels, fills our minds with new thoughts and opens us up to new ideas, and ultimately leads us to have way more energy, a renewed focus and a healthier overall mindset.
And who couldn’t use that?