Rest and balance are important to staying healthy. Here are different types of rest to ensure that you get:
- Physical rest – passive rest such as sleeping, or active rest that is restorative, such as yoga and meditation
- Mental rest – short breaks to refresh your mind and unclutter
- Sensory rest – unplug from electronics, get peace, shut off blue light
- Creative rest – allowing curiosity, wonder and perspective can improve problem-solving and innovation
- Emotional rest – sharing concerns and trauma is therapeutic, and can be done in different ways depending on your level of introversion or extroversion
- Social rest – being free from pressure, expectations and constant demands of our busy work or home lives
- Spiritual rest – one’s grounding is important to have a sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose
Energy is often the outcome when you get quality rest. Ways to preserve energy include:
- Manage stress with relaxation therapies like tai chi and yoga
- Balance work, family and hobbies; learn to prioritise self-care and say no
- Ask for help and find a good support network, from household chores to colleagues at work, or seeing friends each week
- Exercise every day – dopamine improves your mood
- Don’t smoke because it causing insomnia, high blood pressure and tachycardia (faster pulse rate)
- Improve your sleep drive by getting outdoors during the day, and avoid naps
- Eat low glycaemic index foods for slow absorption (e.g. whole grains, vegetables high in fibre, nuts, and olive oil)
- Limit alcohol – at least a few days each week without; drink 8 glasses of water each day instead
- Don’t take sedative drugs including sleeping tablets
- Have fun and find ways to laugh and enjoy life.
There are many initiatives that can help you improve your energy. For example, the Energy Project, sponsored by Harvard University, have great resources that help with rest and renewal in order to avoid burnout and improve performance.
Note that up to three-quarters of fatigue is psychological. However if you suffer ongoing fatigue, get a health assessment from your GP. Check for low iron, anaemia, kidney or liver impairment, sleep apnoea, infections, asthma or emphysema, diabetes, heart disease, depression, thyroid disease, neurological decline, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.