Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is allow yourself to rest. Unfortunately, this isn’t always as easy or natural as it seems. Even babies will sometimes fight getting the sleep they desperately need.
As adults, we constantly ignore our body’s signals to slow down, but then we wonder why we can’t focus or get more done.
Use the following strategies to teach yourself to wind down so you can finally get the rest your body’s been needing.
Work When it’s Work Time, Rest When it’s Rest Time
Technology is great, but it’s also led to many of us never establishing a consistent time to quit work for the day. The first step in getting the rest we need is making a firm commitment to stop working at a certain point each day and enjoy our down time. You might be losing hours of work time, but as you get more rest, you’ll see that you will be more productive during the time you do devote to work since you’ll be able to concentrate and less apt to waste time trying to get the breaks you denied yourself earlier.
It might take conscious effort to adhere to a strict quitting time, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. This applies to active work such as checking emails or writing reports, but also worrying about work or constantly mulling over problems.
Remember, break is the first part of breakthrough, so take some time off and return to your work with a fresh mind the following day.
Turn Off the Screens
Watching a television show or movie can be a good way to unwind and relax, but keep in mind, the artificial light emitted by televisions and computer monitors can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.
You’ll fall asleep faster if you eliminate all screen time starting at least one hour before it’s time for you to go to bed. Reading a book for pleasure is a wonderful choice just before bedtime. If you aren’t much of a reader, listening to relaxing music and working on a hobby like knitting or puzzles works well, too.
Leave Plenty of Free Time in Your Schedule
When you have time off from work, resist the urge to fill every second with activities. There’s tremendous value in time spent puttering around without any plans. It’s easy for our lives to become over-scheduled which makes our bodies and minds scream for rest and downtime.
You’ll be spending time doing things, but you won’t necessarily be accomplishing more since your focus and stamina suffer when you don’t give yourself enough time to rest and unwind.
Get the Right Kind of Tired
Have you ever spent the day swimming, then at the end felt a wonderful kind of down to the bone tired? Exercise helps you gain more energy, but it also helps you fully rest and relax.
Contrast that with how you feel after a few days of sleeping too much and not doing much of anything. You feel groggy and unmotivated and it’s harder to get things done, not easier. Constantly work with no downtime robs us of our focus, but doing absolutely nothing keeps us from performing at our best, too. You must have balance.
When you exercise and stay active, it gives you the mental and physical energy you need to accomplish our goals. It also gives you the good kind of tired that will lead to productive rest where you will feel energized and motivated when you wake, rather than rise in a leaden stupor.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Your body is great at giving you signals that it’s time to take breaks, but your mind is just as good at convincing your to ignore them. While this might seem like it’s more productive in the long run, neglecting to listen to what your body is saying can have profoundly negative effects on your health and mental well-being.
Powering through fatigue should be the exception in your life, not the rule. You will enjoy your life more, have better moods and be more focused and effective if you work with your body instead of treating it like a power struggle.
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