You are amazing!!
It’s true – as a self-sustaining machine, you expend vast quantities of self-generated energy with just a little bit of fuel input and a regime of restoration and recuperation. But what if that restoration isn’t happening? What if the energy is not being regenerated? In machine terms, without the required levels of energy input you will not be as efficient, effective or productive with your output.
Feeling tired even after a full night of sleep could be an indicator that you are not getting the restoration that you need. This can seem counter intuitive especially if you have just had what you deem to be your normal quota of sleep, but there are many different types of energy expenditure which need different kinds of restoration.
Whilst not designed to replace or mimic professional medical advice, it might be useful to have a look through the list below and ask yourself, are you getting the kind of rest you need?
1. Passive Physical Rest
This is the rest you get whilst physically unconscious such as sleeping or taking a nap. Quality and duration of sleep is the subject of numerous studies and articles but if you are struggling with either of these issues, you might want to consider the following as starting points:
Light and/or sound levels in the sleeping environment
Diet and exercise regimes
Age and condition of bedding
Your “winding-down” routine
Quantity of screen-time (as discussed in the sensory section below)
Getting a good night’s sleep is important whatever that looks like for you, so if this is the cycle which is causing you trouble it’s worth talking to the relevant expert to try and get it sorted.
2. Active Physical Rest
This differs from above in that you are physically active to some degree, such as with meditation, yoga or low-level calisthenics. There are many benefits to active relaxation ranging from the reduction of excess cortisol in your blood system (caused by anxiety or stress) to raising your self-awareness and improving your mental health and wellbeing. It also has the benefit of helping you clear your mind which leads to the next type of rest…
3. Mental Rest
Finding it difficult to switch off? If your mind is whirling and you are constantly chewing things over or worrying about issues at home, you may not be physically active but you are still expending vast quantities of mental energy. The brain is a biological computer which like all computers, expends energy when working so you need to find ways to distract your brain and allow it to go into rest mode! Taking short breaks form your activity during your working or non-working day allows you to rest and recuperate. It also teaches the brain to switch off more often which makes your eventual switch off at the end of the day, much more effective.
4. Sensory Rest
So called Blue-light is that which is emitted by many of our electronic devices like mobile phone screens, laptops and energy saving LED bulbs. It is thought to be particularly good at suppressing the production of melatonin which is one of the critical hormones involved in the management of our sleeping patterns, thus exposure to blue light screens should be limited especially in the hour or more before bed.
However, sight is not the only sense we have, and the inputs we receive in a busy working day can impact our ability to process effectively. Ever tried to concentrate in the middle of a noisy, brightly lit, busy working environment (and don’t get me started on the person who brings a stinky packed lunch into the office!!) – it’s just a sensory overload! As mentioned previously, you need to give yourself a break. Even if you can’t leave your desk, you can shut down or limit the input to some of your senses; close your eyes, put some relaxing music or nature sounds on your headphones, you might even enjoy aromatherapy if you want to look into the effects that can be enjoyed by controlling what goes up your nose!
5. Creative and Inspirational Rest
Have you ever tried to remember something which only comes to you once you’ve stopped thinking about it or come up with a brilliant idea whilst in the bath or on a walk in the woods? These are examples of giving your brain the time and space to do what it does best! Forget those cliched arguments about who does or doesn’t multi-task the best, your brain is designed to work more effectively on one thing at a time. Just like a computer or mobile phone we are capable of doing numerous things at once but the speed, effectivity or quality reduces as the quantity increases.
There are many theories around how the brain processes creativity which suggest that focussed thinking diminishes inspiration. So, if you’re looking for a “wow!” moment or a flash of inspired creativity, take your eye off the ball and go do something you enjoy for a while. The brain also relishes the endorphins you release whilst undertaking creative or enjoyable activities so take a run in the countryside, get your paints out and fill a canvas, plant some seeds in the garden or pick up your guitar and play some music – whatever you love, do more of it!
6. Social and Emotional Rest
Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, we all need people for our energy and wellbeing but sometimes this can get taxing. Even the most outgoing people-person eventually needs to take a break and let their batteries recharge. A people-pleaser, generous in nature and spirit will eventually become drained with nothing left to give if they’re not careful. There is no shame in needing your own company every now and again and this may actually be essential if you are to retain balance and improve your energy management.
In addition, consider the nature and energy of the people who surround you. We are emotional chameleons who adapt to strongly transmitted emotional messages so it follows that if you are constantly exposed to negativity, you will eventually be affected by these emotions or messages in some way.
When in need of a boost, switch off the doom & gloom and opt in to positivity! Surround yourself with optimistic people who have a positive outlook on life, a sense of humour or a shared passion for something you love. Their energy is infectious and will brighten your day and recharge your batteries in no time!
Regardless whether this helps or not, look after yourself and I hope you get the rest you need!
Phil @ Lantern
T: 07786 163500