Burnt out? Tired? Mind too full?
This is a quote I now LOVE: “Rest is not a luxury you earn when you are finished with creative work. It’s a discipline you cultivate to make you more creative”
As a former rest avoider, I now have to embrace rest or my brain malfunctions and basically, well….just stops working properly.
I do believe however, there is always a silver lining to every cloud and one of the best things I have learnt from having to manage extreme neuro-fatigue as a result of the post viral encephalitis (brain swelling) I was diagnosed with, is that rest makes you a better person in SO many ways.
I have to be honest, as a result of my upbringing with 2 working parents who also studied and loved to be busy, I just viewed rest as something that was a bit of a waste of time. I eat my own words now. How insanely wrong I was. There is endless compelling research that supports the fact rest is super important for both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Now that I HAVE to rest to survive and am totally unable to do two things at once anymore, I have noticed so many incredible things:
- I have a clearer mind
- I’m calmer
- My creativity is better
- I am less stressed
- I am getting more done, in less time
- My communication has improved
- It is easier to make decisions
While my problem was caused by a virus, not burn out, the issues I am managing are the same as many of you who are overloaded, your minds are too busy and you have WAY too much sh*t to think about.
As you will have seen from my posts and stories, I now have to have small micro naps. Something I know won’t last forever, but even when my brain swelling subsides, I will FOREVER be a convert to microbreaks, a fantastic, realistic way to have rest, however much you have going on! Even if you have a busy job, demanding kids (like my two boys who are 3 and 7 and a handful) and other dramas going on in your life, you can do this and you need to.
Microbreaks (by my definition) are small gaps in the day to let my brain catch up!
- Leaving your phone behind when you go to the kettle and notice your surroundings while you wait for it to boil
- Doing washing up or folding the laundry mindfully without the TV or other data going into your brain at the same time
- Driving without the radio on or talking to someone else
- Using a lift WITHOUT scrolling on your phone, just allowing you mind to wander
- Standing at the bus stop and just noticing what’s around you rather than scrolling
- Allowing yourself just to be in the shopping queue without logging into your emails or seeing what is happening on social media
- Closing your inbox down while you are working on a project for an hour so you aren’t distracted
- Turning your notifications off so your computer, phone or tablet doesn’t PING all the time. It is BAD FOR YOUR BRAIN and is very likely to make your feel anxious having so many things competing for your attention all the time
- If you are tired during the day, rather than grabbing a coffee, just walk outside without a device in your hand or pocket for 5-10minutes. It will boost your serotonin, reduce your melatonin (which makes you feel sleepy) and allow you a small break for your brain to catch up
- JUST BE WHERE YOU ARE. DO ONE THING at a time and practice making this your new normal.
I, probably like you, used to think that resting was something you did when you were on holiday, or at the weekend when it finally came time to sit down and watch TV for an hour, but that is not enough. Nowhere near enough, for your brain anyway. Your brain needs more rest and regular rest, even if just for a couple of minutes at time. It really can be a game changer.
One of the weekly challenges I have put together in my ‘It’s a Beautiful Day’ planner is on microbreaks which I have always been passionate about, but now even more so. If you want to find out more about microbreaks and getting your other healthy habits on track, now is a great time as there are amazing gifts worth over $30 free with your planner! More on that here.