Feeling burned out? Even though you are home most of this season? Many people have been feeling tired and less productive from the stressful situation we are living now (AKA global pandemic).
When escaping elsewhere is not a possibility, finding new ways to recharge is important for our health. Oh, and also increase our productivity and mood.
Here are 7 ways you can rest that do not mean going to bed earlier.
1. Permission to say no:
Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. Most times we take an extra load that we carry from adding responsibilities we were not comfortable with. And we take them but they are not really urgent or could have been done by somebody else. Letting go is an act of freedom and when you decide to say yes it will be a meaningful decision which will reflect your best self.
2. Be “unproductive” on purpose:
You don’t have to read a book, paint, exercise, cook, do the laundry, and get all your to-do list done just because you have some extra time. It is ok to just “be” and relax by doing something you probably didn’t have the time to do or that feels more passive, like watching the sky or listening to music. Your best ideas can flourish when your mind is worry-free and this free time can help you be more productive than ever.
3. Grounding (or earthing):
Grounding or earthing is when your skin is in direct contact with the surface of the Earth and there are many studies that prove its benefits to physiology and health. Among them are: Reduced inflammation, increased immune response, wound healing, and diminished stress levels.
4. Forest bathing:
Similar to grounding, forest bathing is simply spending time in nature but leaving your electronics behind (headphones included) and practicing mindfulness. Noticing the sounds of the forest, scent of the trees, the sunlight playing through the leaves, fresh air, and embracing all five senses by immersing yourself in nature is a good way to slow down and recharge.
Meditation is a practice that can be different for every person, but it has positive effects for your mental and physical health. Find some time you can be alone and sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and focus on your breath and give yourself permission to be still. You can meditate on a passage from a book, a feeling, an event, or simply focus on your breathing.
6. Appreciate art:
Have you ever chosen a movie just because it is a masterpiece and not just entertaining? Give your mind some “food for thought” by appreciating different types of art: Music, dance, poetry, painting, photography. What do you feel? What do you think the artist had in mind when he/she created this?
7. Go for a walk:
Not HIT, not a marathon, just a simple walk can lower your cortisol levels and help you focus on your breathing, thus relaxing and lightening your mood. You don’t always have to set goals or track your progress to have real benefits to your health. All you need to know is that by walking, you can enjoy benefits such as boosting your immune system, losing weight, strengthening your bones, improving sleep, and supporting your joints.
We all need more rest and need to recharge our bodies, especially when there is so much uncertainty and stress around us. Sometimes even if we are putting in 8 hours of sleep we can feel unmotivated and unproductive. It is important to recognize our body cues and find better ways to recharge other than binge watching your favorite tv show or eating ultra-processed foods.
Challenge yourself this week and commit to trying one of these activities and see how you feel. Remember: Nobody is productive, happy, or creative 100% of the time. We all have ups and downs and every day is a new challenge. You are enough and only you have the start/pause control of your life. Listen to your mind and body and give yourself permission to discover the power of simple things.