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…

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.

Would you like to read more Chipur articles? Tons of titles

  • Patricia Miller February 18, 2014, 11:18 pm

    I think it is also important to know what drains you and what fills you up. For years I had a job that required a great deal of public interaction in the evenings and on weekends and I knew I was bone weary all the time but really had no clue how to fix it. I’ve retired from that job and have taken a new position in a totally different career area and now I have plenty of public interaction in the work day with most evenings as private time. I’ve discovered that I am genuinely an introvert who enjoys time alone and with close friends and confidants. I’m adding this to your fantastic list of suggestions for finding rest.

    Another suggestion is to seek out time to worship and meditate because it reminds you that you are part of something much larger than yourself and that you are being cared for and cherished. I also find rest comes to me when I know that I am giving of my heart to others. I don’t have to do it to excess or to exhaustion because that would be counter productive, but giving and helping leaves me with warmth and fills me up.

    Thank you for reminding me that rest is essential. It isn’t an easy lesson to keep in the front of my brain and regular reminders are so needed.

    • chipur February 19, 2014, 9:06 am

      Wow! Great stuff, Patricia. And thank you for bringing it to our table. Rest! We so often avoid it. Sometimes I wonder if being alone and quiet with ourselves is a frightening proposition. Hmmm, if so, the only fix is diving right in and giving it a go. I suspect in time we’ll find the water’s just fine. Thank you for stopping-by and participating…

  • Leslie Ferris February 21, 2014, 8:21 am

    Hey Bill, I think this is an under-rated and very important topic! What works for me – a quick 15 minuter in the afternoon if I can get it. It works wonders, and I used to think that was weak or lazy, but now I know it works so well for me and a lot of other people too! I am glad some employers are allowing it now. It makes sense. A friend of mine got in serious trouble for taking a nap at his desk, but that was a long time ago. Hopefully times are changing! Thanks for another great article!!

    • chipur February 21, 2014, 11:18 am

      Well, thank you, Leslie, for visiting and contributing. You wouldn’t be the first to hint resting was a sign of weakness or laziness. Dang, we can be so hard on ourselves! I like the quickie power nap idea. It’s very “doable.” You take care, Leslie, and come on back for another visit…

  • Lisa Frederiksen | BreakingThe February 21, 2014, 1:03 pm

    whoa Bill – I’m really liking this one (not that all of your pieces aren’t terrific!), but I so relate to what happens when I don’t rest and thus the importance of making it a part of my every day. It’s so easy to let it slide, too, because of that “one more thing” I need to do, and “then, I can sit back.” I saw a great FB post related to this that struck me this week, “My brain has too many tabs open.” When we close the tabs we can once again center and come back even more focused, in other words, more “effective.” Thanks for the important reminder – rest!

    • chipur February 21, 2014, 6:01 pm

      You know, you bring-up a great point, Lisa. You’ve come to understand what happens to – and in – your life when you don’t rest. And I would imagine when the “happens” begin to happen, you know it’s time to back off the accelerator – and grab some rest. Yep, how easy it is to find our brains have too many tabs open. Can be an all-of-the-sudden thing. And it becomes time to close a few. But better to catch it before all the tabs get opened, right? I’m always glad to see you here, Lisa. You rest, as well…

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk February 22, 2014, 6:24 pm

    Great topic here, Bill. Rest is so important and I experienced a day yesterday, where the eyes were open at about 4:30 am and could not go back to sleep. I could feel it the rest of the day. It alters how you feel and your energy level and I can see how lack of sleep would certainly contribute to other disorders. Thanks for the needed reminder!

    • chipur February 23, 2014, 11:12 am

      Ah, always here with those “needed reminders,” Cathy. Rest really is an important component of a healthy lifestyle – emotionally, mentally, and physically. And I’ll say it again – many find rest, being alone with oneself, a scary proposition. Hmmm, “It’s harder to hit a moving target.” Lots to that, I think. Appreciate your faithful visits and contributions…

  • Jody Lamb March 2, 2014, 12:11 pm

    Hi Bill, this post is very timely for me! Increasingly, I am not resting and sleeping enough. This is due to a never-ending to-do list in my professional and personal life as well as a general sense of anxiety. I’ve been trying to do more relaxation techniques and reduce my to-do list but I haven’t been very successful thus far. Thanks for the reminder about how very critical rest is to my ability to more effectively live! Awesome, as always. Thanks, Bill!

    • chipur March 2, 2014, 1:01 pm

      Well, hi, Jody! You know, just like on your blog you always shoot from the hip. Your honesty regarding your personal circumstances is refreshing – and helpful to others. Boy, don’t I know your predicament! And it’s a very thin boundary between what has to be done and what needs to be placed on the back burner for the sake of rest (sanity). In an effort to pull that off, I’ve decided to take a realistic look at my motivation – what in my thinking leads me to believe everything I believe I have to do is so important – and has to be done. Maybe my perception is inaccurate. Maybe I’m being (mis)guided by an automatic thought/cognitive distortion. And so it’s about doing all I can to see things for what they really are, and moving forward from there. Glad you stopped-by and contributed. Best with your rest journey, Jody…