Points North

What does rest look like in 2021?

on Jun 09, 2021 in Inspiration

Are you experiencing a type of tiredness that a dose of melatonin and a good night’s sleep just won’t fix? Join the club.

It might have something to do with the reduced social activities, increased work expectations, high-anxiety and stress-inducing environments that we have all found ourselves in. If you’ve already burned out (multiple times) or are on the fast-track to get there, take a moment to mull over the idea that resting in 2021 looks totally different than it has in prior years. A cat-nap doesn’t cut it anymore!

First, let’s clarify one hard truth: you deserve rest. Now that the obvious is out of the way, here are some ideas for rejuvenating all the parts of you.

If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.

-Ajahn Chah

Quieting your mind.

It can be hard to quiet the mind. Even when we try to relax, thoughts about unchecked emails or upcoming meetings can creep in. We highlighted mindfulness and meditation in our 5 Healthy Ways to Deal With Change post, and it definitely resonates as a way to also find rest.

It’s best to go into meditation without expectations. Put aside 5 or 10 minutes. Unplug your phone, and make sure no one is going to disturb you (including human babies and fur babies). To meditate, your intention should be clear and free of other obligations.

Recommendations from the Mayo Clinic

According to the Mayo Clinic, the emotional benefits of meditation can include:

  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions
  • Increasing imagination and creativity
  • Increasing patience and tolerance

If you’d like to give it a try, check out Shine, Headspace or Calm as good places to start.

It might be time to step away, literally.

When was the last time you took a vacation? I know, what’s that? Like most of my colleagues, I took a stay-cation, meaning I just didn’t go to work, but was still in my same environment. I think we can all agree that, though nice, isn’t a true break or escape. The pandemic has made traveling harder. It’s important to be cautious, but if you can manage to drive a few hours to book a hotel in another part of town, please do so post-haste.

Studies show that taking a vacation can lower your stress levels. Endless work with too few breaks can cloud your brain. In fact, it’ll get harder and harder to concentrate, focus, and remember things. Time away to rest mentally and physically can help you return more focused and energized. Check in with your friends, they might be just as ready to check their bags and join you.

Small changes can have a big impact.

I want to call out that resting doesn’t have to be this big event, there are small ways you can work rest in your day-to-day activities.

  • Take a social rest. Forego checking your social media for 24 hours. The rate at which content is being spewed at us is utterly overwhelming. In fact, you might consider taking a break from Zoom as well. Andrew Franklin, Assistant Professor of Cyberpsychology at Virginia’s Norfolk State University, states that video calls are more tiring on our brain: ‘For somebody dependent on non-verbal cues [like hand gestures or body language], it can be a big drain not to have them.’ Not to mention having to pay attention to a gallery of faces at once, while focusing on what the meeting is actually about.
  • Take a sensory rest. Do you go from TV to computer to tablet to phone to smart watch to computer to phone and round and round again? Same. Newsflash! You don’t have to always be available. If you find yourself aimlessly scrolling at your default activity, it might be time to take a step back. Start small by just keeping your phone in another room for an hour. Take a walk, do a puzzle, read an actual book. Refresh yourself instead of your timeline.
  • Take an emotional rest. Masking your feelings with a drink? That might help you cope in the short term, but for the long term? You’ll need something with a proven track record. You’re not alone in your feelings of tiredness, anxiousness, stress or even depression. It might be time to consider talk therapy (like BetterHelp or TalkSpace) or even something as simply as journaling to help you cope. According to Psychology Today, “dozens of studies have shown that certain journaling practices can positively impact a variety of outcomes, including happiness, goal attainment, and even some aspects of physical health.”

Feeling motivated to rest in one form or another? That’s great, I’ll leave you with this Spanish proverb:

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.

Remember, by simply being, you deserve rest. You do not have to earn it.


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