With staycations and quick breaks to be grabbed before the busyness of autumn and winter arrive, Sheela Hobden looks at why time out and rest are simply so important.
Rest seems to have got a ‘lazy’ and ‘indulgent’ reputation, but it is essential, to maintain strength and focus. It is not an indulgence: it’s a necessity. Without it, we really will crash and burn.
Why rest? It allows the brain and body to process everything we ask of it. The more rest we have during the day, the less the brain has to process overnight.
Rest helps us to sleep better — by introducing more rest breaks, overnight processing is reduced, and you will also sleep better at night.
Note that just 5 minutes every hour is better than 20 minutes in three hours (this is not an excuse to skip your lunchbreak though – you do need both).
So, how do you achieve this?
Here are five ideas to get you started:
No, not the sweets! As individuals, we will feel recharged by different things, so try a different ‘M’ for each break you take:
- Mindfulness (focus on the present)
- Meditation (use an App such as Insight Timer)
- Music (play your favourite song)
- Movement (anything goes)
- Mwah ha ha (watch something funny).
TIP – create your own menu of ‘rest options’.
Go ‘off grid’
Being constantly available means the brain is ‘on alert’ even when we don’t think it is. Switch off, and you’ll also be surprised at how people find ways to manage without you too.
TIP – However short or long your break is, leave your phone behind.
Do something which gets you into ‘flow’ and totally absorbs your attention. Even on a short break, you can still get into flow. Flow is one of life’s highly enjoyable states of being, wrapping us entirely in the present, and helping us be more creative, productive, and happy, a little bit like being in a trance. Watch this for more information.
TIP – Try an ‘M&M’ for just a minute for that ‘trance’ state.
Screen time is an absolute killer. Add to it the sensory stimulation that comes from Zoom calls, bright lights, conversations around us and by the end of the day we’re cooked.
TIP – Take 1 minute an hour with your eyes closed.
Are you spending too much time with people around you, calling for your attention? You might need some ‘social rest’.
TIP – Allocate specific periods of time where ‘do not disturb’ applies. This could be a simple sign ‘Please leave me to focus between x and x’ on your office door (and telling colleagues). There is also an actual ‘DND’ option on your phone, set it during the day or have a regular ‘end of day’ timer set.
Are you planning on taking a longer break? Listen to this podcast for healthcare professionals on rest, and why it is so important for wellbeing, productivity, and creativity.
Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching. Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences. She has a real passion for helping medics and healthcare professionals take as much care of themselves as they do their patients. She is also a Mentor Coach and Coach Supervisor. She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds PCC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified. She challenges herself with ultra distance running and Ironman. Find her at www.bluegreencoaching.com or swimming in the sea, in Poole, Dorset. Sign up to her newsletter for more.