If you’re like me, you like to work. You like to invest yourself in something and push yourself to go the extra mile. I’m of the particular perfectionist variety that tries to do everything as effectively as possible. My wife thinks I have a disease.
My more phlegmatic readers probably can’t relate. They like to take it easy and live life as it comes. But regardless of your disposition, you need to understand the importance of rest and how to do it right.
So, why do you need rest?
In this country, we could live with constant stimulation. We sit in front of screens at work. We carry mini-screened electronics with us. Then we come home and turn on more screens. That fact, among others, has led us to a staggering rate of degenerative disease. How do we manage our lives to avoid burn out and fatigue?
The idea of rest finds its origins in the beginning of time. God Himself rested after six days of creation. He set aside a full day for enjoyment. Regardless of your religious views, your body and mind will benefit from the same.
A review conducted by Gallup revealed higher energy levels and reduced risk of obesity for each additional day of exercise in a week. However, their data actually showed an increased risk of obesity for those who worked out seven days a week, as opposed to five or six.
Give yourself one full day to recuperate. If you’ve worked out for six days straight, take a day off. If you bring work home or try to get ahead on the weekends, set it aside for one day. You may think you’re getting ahead, but studies show declined productivity erases any gains you make by not resting.
Aside from short breaks to increase your productivity during the day, your mind and body will benefit from having time to unwind at night. A calming activity will help you slow down and recharge. I’ll usually snuggle with my 2-year-old or just watch her run laps around the dining room table. Television or surfing the web doesn’t do it for me and probably won’t for you. The stimuli keep your brain too active. Try reading, listening to music, enjoying a warm cup of tea, or just connecting with your significant other. Shut off your electronics for a good hour before bed. Your sleep quality will even improve.
Given my bent toward becoming a workaholic, I have had to train myself to disconnect. Occasionally I fail. And then the next day I experience the long reminder of why I need a break. And with life as short as it is, I want to invest more time in things I value, like people.