Staying Energized Means More Than Getting Enough Sleep
by Jamie Spannhake
February 20, 2021
We all know sleep is important for both physical and mental stamina. In fact, lack of sleep has serious consequences, such as reducing our immune system’s effectiveness and increasing cravings for simple carbohydrates. But did you know there are at least four other kinds of rest we need to be healthy and at our best?
Here the five kinds of rest you need to feel energized, mentally and physically.
1. Physical Rest
As a fundamental requirement of good health, we must rest our bodies by sleeping. The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep each night. We can also rest our bodies through restorative actions such as yoga and meditation. Try to get sufficient sleep, and on those days when you don’t, rely on meditation to get some of the physical rest you missed during the night.
2. Mental Rest
When we are continually faced with stress from our daily activities, especially during this pandemic, we become mentally exhausted. This kind of exhaustion is what we often refer to as “burnout.” Mental exhaustion can manifest as not being able to fall asleep because our mind is running through our to-do lists, or all the things that went wrong during the day, or all the responsibilities we will face tomorrow. Such mental exhaustion can make us feel tired even when we have sufficient physical rest. One way to get needed mental rest and combat fatigue is to take a break. Whether it’s a week, a day or an hour, try to find downtime. Another effective tool is a daily meditation practice, which gives your brain the respite it needs from constant demands.
3. Social Rest
We can feel socially exhausted when we spend a lot of time with people who drain us of energy or when we don’t have meaningful connections with other people. Think of that colleague who is always pessimistic and difficult or that “frenemy” who takes great pleasure in making you feel bad about yourself. Or perhaps you are feeling isolated while you work from home and spend very little time with friends. To get the social rest you need, spend less time with people who drain you and more time with people who make you feel good. Schedule a time for a walk outside with a friend, or to connect with your spouse at home, or for a weekly Zoom call with friends.
4. Creative Rest
Many people don’t think of themselves as creative, but we are all creative, to some degree. We spend a lot of time finding solutions to every day problems, both big and small. When we spend a lot of time analyzing and creating solutions, we may need a creative rest. The best way to get the needed rest is to enjoy nature, art, music and other things and activities you find aesthetically pleasing. Go for a hike. Play the piano. Take a virtual tour of an art museum. Listen to your favorite music. Read a book. Anything that allows your creative energy to rest and rejuvenate at the same time.
5. Sensory Rest
Our world is over-stimulating. We are surrounded by screens for work and personal use: phones, tablets, laptops, computers, video game consoles and more. There are lights, noises, notifications and conversations during most of our waking hours. All this stimulation creates a need for sensory rest. Unplug at least two hours before bed. Keep your phone outside your bedroom during sleep. Choose one night a week to engage in activities that don’t involve a screen, such as card games or books. Try to spend some time each day in nature or in silence.
Make sure to get the necessary rest in all five areas.
A version of this post first appeared at Attorney at Work.
Want more helpful tools and tips? Let's Connect!
I coach busy professionals so they can achieve more while doing less; so they can create the lives they truly want, lives that include time and space to work the way they want, to spend time with their kids, to laugh with friends, and to exercise every day: Time and space to do all the things I was told I couldn’t do as a successful lawyer. My work with clients is based upon the principles in my book, The Lawyer, the Lion, & the Laundry: Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos, available at www.JamieSpannhake.com. Learn more about how we can transform your every day, and apply for my coaching program here.