How often do you actually stop and rest? Do you prioritise ‘stopping time’ to recuperate your energy as much as you do for ticking off your daily checklist of things to-do? Are you able to rest your mind as well as your body? Or do you find yourself often feeling overtired and too exhausted or overwhelmed to be able to switch off and completely disconnect?
Rest has incredible, and yet highly underrated, curative and preemptive properties that are a must for all of us. The quality of the rest you get is just as important as the amount of time you dedicate to it.
Dedicating that time however, amidst a hectic schedule, can seem nigh on impossible. In summer we have the benefits of our daily dose of Vitamin D to keep us feeling fresh and perky, but in the autumn, it’s not just the leaves that are turning – our internal body clocks are harmonised with nature, so they experience a seasonal change too.
Our bodies need to rest more, sleep more and yes – indeed – even eat more to refuel our systems with real energy. As we rest, our organs (including our lovely liver and delightful kidneys who keep on processing all the toxins, alcohol, sugar… and everything else we ingest aside from what our system is really asking for!) finally get a much-needed chance to recuperate.
Unless we take rest at regular intervals, our adrenalin glands surge leading us to feel the need for sugar, sugar and more sugar! Which in turn leads to those cravings that feed our adrenalin system all over again and the slumps and down-in-dumps thoughts and feelings.
But how do we break through this potentially addictive catch-22?
Take a tip from the locals here in Ibiza! The Spanish know exactly how to rest in moderation, and do very well with their siestas, where everything closes between 2pm and 5pm. If you’re here in Ibiza, it could be as simple as staying in harmony with your environment.
Outside of Ibiza, why not experiment? Try power naps with a duration of just 20 minutes – a great, proven way to reach into the regenerative sleep-state that does as much good as a several-hour dose.
Tibetan monks traditionally went to bed when the sun set and got up before daybreak and Chinese medicine prescribes the same philosophy for health and wellbeing today. It is said that each hour of sleep we get before midnight is worth much more than those hours from midnight until morning.
Early to bed and early to rise is great in principal yet life, kids, deadlines and the many challenges and opportunities arise can throw us off the perfect path. And how on earth does that work in our Ibiza reality, where nightlife is as much an ingrained part of the island’s lifestyle as the picture-perfect mornings that beckon for sunrise swims?
Pushing ourselves beyond our limits leads to feelings of accomplishment, achievement and all sorts of other gains. Yet, just as with any feel-good-drug, we need to remember to keep everything in moderation. Try these tips to help you shift your mindset (and mental and physical state) before going to sleep.
• Curb any afternoon caffeine intakes, consciously cut out the sugary foods and late-night carbohydrates
• Be strict with the goal-oriented mind that may want to keep working after 9pm
• Turn off the computer (yes, that means Facebook on the iPhone too!) at least one and a half hours before retiring to as it emits many sleep-unfriendly electro-magnetic waves
• Dim the lights and turn off other electric noises and appliances
• A good dose of lavender oil is a superb sleep-assister, pop some drops on the pillow or rub into the soles of your feet and swap feet with your partner for a foot-massage to enhance the relaxation process
• Sitting by an open fire has many associations that help the mind, and therefore the body, to let go.
• Listen to soft, relaxing music that is soothing, ambient and slow…
Sweet dreams, rest-well and enjoy this beautiful autumn – time to be like a bear! Snuggle up, hibernate and revive…