Many of us do recognize that we may lack hours of sleep and that we do not get enough rest during our day or week. However, there are people who do get enough daily sleep but still complain of constant fatigue, and inability to rest and recharge.
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith in her recent TED talk puts things in order about our rest and categorizes it into 7 main pillars. Those categories are the ones we should take care of daily (or at least weekly) and those are also some of the categories that we work on during our Food Coaching programs at DNANUTRICOACH®.
Sleep and rest are not always the same. Physical rest can be passive or active. This means that it can include sleeping or “power” naps, siesta, or evening naps and is called passive physical rest, while active physical rest includes activities such as yoga, stretching, and massage or other restorative ones that improve the body’s circulation and overall well being.
Mental rest also includes sleep, which is able to nourish our brain cells and help them regenerate and restore. However, to achieve mental rest, we also need regular breaks of 5 minutes, ideally, every 2 hours during the day, that can help our mind deal with irritability, inability to concentrate, and memory loss.
Intense lights, intense sounds as well as intense touches, movements, and interactions cause overstimulation of our senses. These symptoms are enhanced when we are in constant interaction with computer screens and other machines. Try closing your eyes or lookout in the sky or even the ceiling for one to two minutes, every 2 hours, which will help the retina of your eye to rest and be able to continue its work.
The constant and uninterrupted demand to find solutions and analyze problems leads to intense fatigue and sometimes even blockage. People working in arts are more prone to experience this kind of fatigue. The solution here is to enjoy nature regularly. Spending time in nature, admiring breath-taking landscapes, or even daydreaming of beautiful memories are enough to help our brain relax.
Distance and time away from toxic people and situations that absorb your energy are essential ingredients to maintain our emotional rest. An emotionally relaxed person, when asked “How are you doing”, will dare to answer “I’m not well” and will be able to share words and feelings that would otherwise be suppressed. Emotional rest is perhaps the most difficult of all to achieve because it requires courage to recognize it and be authentic.
Social rest does not mean isolation (although in many cases it may be recommended). Social rest requires the ability to distinguish between social contacts that exhaust you and those that renew you. People who are supportive, positive, and capable of listening, help us achieve social rest. Even in distance, you can differentiate which social relationships favor social rest and which ones are jeopardizing it.
Self-reflection, meditation, or volunteering help to relax our spirit and connect with a deeper sense of belonging. The feeling of love and acceptance contributes decisively to spiritual rest.
If you feel that in any of the above 7 rest categories you have left behind, there is definitely a way to recover.
Seek help and guidance from a specialized and trained health professional, who will take into account all the health factors of your body, and help you recharge yourself.
I will be happy to help you!
By Dr. Valentini Konstantinidou, RDN, MSc, PhD.