Written by Francine Baffa, LICSW, BCBA-D
Edited by Joe DeNoon
“Have I rested over the summer?” As we enter August, I am sure this is a question many of us are asking ourselves. But how exactly does one rest? How can we enter the fall feeling fresh, as opposed to feeling burnt out or bored?
Too often, we equate rest with sleep or watching Netflix — forms of relaxation that hold us idle for hours on end. However, these often lead us to feeling sluggish or even like we have “wasted all of summer”.
Rest can take the form of recharging. Can you identify the activities that give you energy? Sitting idle doesn’t give you energy; it usually just saps it. So, what gives you energy? Is it spending time with friends? Reading over a cup of coffee? Trying a new sport? No two people will recharge the same way!
Here are some tips that may help you find rest:
Multitasking is a quick way to get stressed out. Instead of multitasking, which also makes you more prone to mistakes, try focusing on finishing one task at a time. Checklists can help you stay focused, keep track of what you have accomplished, and lead to a feeling of competency.
Take a break from technology!
The lives of friends and strangers you follow often seem “perfect” on social media, but they rarely are in reality. Feeling like you must live up to a certain expectation can be draining, so put social media on pause.
Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that meditation can help people find purpose in their lives if they feel down or stressed. Set aside some time daily to practice meditation and detach from the business of life.
At the times in my life when I’ve most struggled, I’ve found that writing things out can be immensely helpful, and yes, even energizing. Some of us might not be traditional “journalers”, but jotting down your thoughts, lists, plans and memories in a notebook can help get it off your plate and out of your brain. If you find you need a chance to reset and recharge your batteries, explore your “whys” in your writing. What’s making you feel drained and what can you do to make yourself feel better? Write it out and you might be surprised at the results.
Take breaks from things and people that bring you down!
People or environments can leave you feeling down; it may be time to take a break from them. Perhaps try putting certain relationships on hold until you have the energy to engage with them at full capacity.
Small adjustments to your lifestyle may translate to significant reductions in your stress levels. This can then enhance your wellbeing. Recharge your personal battery by taking care of yourself both physically and mentally — take the pulse on how you are feeling.
With the myriad of responsibilities in your life and work, you just cannot run away from stress. What is important is to always take a step back and recharge whenever you start feeling the fatigue sneaking up on you.