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And the Rest is History (It’s Time for a Comeback)

How to Relieve Stress

“Sure, Bill, I’m open to anything to help me manage my depression and anxiety. How to relieve stress? Burnout? I’m in. That is as long as it doesn’t include rest. I don’t do that.”

Okay, true confession. When it comes to rest, I’ve let myself down as of late (though my two-year-old granddaughter had no problem with it). In fact, I’ve been running so hard over the past week, I didn’t even put together a new article to post. Sooo, I’ve tidied-up a piece I wrote two years ago. And the importance of the message couldn’t be greater on this side of the fence. Perhaps on your side, as well.

Let’s chat rest…

When I was a boy, my grandmother frequently said to me, “Bill, you go at everything like you’re trying to kill a snake!” She was right. And as witnessed by my true confession, her insight often sticks to this very day.

I think it would be safe to say that characteristic is pretty common in those with mood and anxiety leanings. And it sure consumes buckets of emotional, mental, and physical energy, huh. That said, is it a stretch to say rest is essential to a comfortable existence?

How ’bout Leonardo da Vinci’s take on rest?

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.

Now to a few “rest” definitions offered by merriam-webster.com…

A bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities…freedom from activity or labor…a state of motionlessness or inactivity…peace of mind or spirit…something used for support…quiescent, motionless…free of anxieties.

It’s interesting that out of the 74 words in the full definition of rest, sleep is mentioned only twice. Still, as long as we’re discussing rest, let’s touch base with sleep for just a bit.

Sufficient quality sleep is just huge, especially for those operating in the mood/anxiety neck of the woods. But fact is, sleep is a major problem for tens of millions. Oh, a sleep-related disorder is often the culprit; however, let’s not forget about those icky lifestyle choices and habits.

So what are some of the signs we’re not getting sufficient quality sleep?

  • The daytime sleepies
  • Increased anxiety and irritability
  • Depressed or elevated mood
  • Oversleeping and its consequences (late for work, school, engagements, etc.)
  • Frequent illness
  • Facial signs – poor color, bags under our eyes, loss of eye-glimmer, etc.
  • Interruption of functioning and routine

But to the point of the article – rest. If you’ve determined it’s time to do something about your lack thereof, here are some thoughts and ideas…

  • Carefully assess where you are in terms of functioning, routine, health, fatigue, and – well – rest. I say it time and again here on Chipur – how can we expect to progress and heal if we don’t know where we are in the immediate?
  • Power nap: 15-30 minutes is all it takes. Some employers allow it. If not, take one in your car.
  • Simply close your eyes, even for five minutes if time is at a premium.
  • Dedicate 30 minutes a day to meditation, yoga, tai chi, self-touch, or relaxation sessions.
  • Engage in something you fully enjoy – that’s not too labor intensive.
  • If you have difficulty staying still, find a diversion while you rest – reading, writing, listening to music, watching TV, playing solitaire, spending time on Facebook (or Chipur), etc.
  • Engage in calm conversation with your spouse, partner, or a friend.
  • Be assertive in drawing boundaries for “me” time.
  • Take a leisurely stroll.
  • Keep detailed notes on what’s working – techniques, length of activity time, time of day, etc. How can we expect to know what’s good if we don’t track results?

As you consider these notions, and begin your journey, always remember – being realistic, dedication, consistency, practice, follow-up, and discipline are crucial. The benefits just won’t be there without faithfulness to regimen and self.

Hey! Depression, anxiety, how to relieve stress, burnout, and more – rest is essential in management. And, you know, it extends well beyond the routine of it all. It’s a state of mind. And when it’s firmly established, it becomes a state of being – a spirit.

From there, it’s all good.

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