You will all agree that you desire to be well-rested. Nearly all of you would also agree that you currently do not feel well-rested, or at least not consistently so. This rest deficit is a circle of dysfunction in our lives: it results FROM being unhealthy physically, intellectually, emotionally, and/or spiritually (PIES) – and it results IN being unhealthy physically, intellectually, emotionally, and/or spiritually (PIES).
I have what I call “sleep issues”. Up to and through my teenage years, the vitality of youth allowed me to survive and even thrive despite seldom being well-rested. But as an adult, with the emotional stress of college, marriage, career, and parenting coupled with physical discomfort & pain because of an unhealthy spine (a.k.a. bad back – and now neck), not being able to sleep consistently – even when I try to – have always made being well-rested a challenge.
Being well-rested is way more than just getting enough sleep, which is fortunate for those of us who have “sleep issues” of one kind or another. So, how do we break the cycle of rest deficit and become the healthy individuals we desire to be?
First, build daily rhythms that enhance your PIES health. The electronic tools we have available with reminders, notices, appointments, etc. should be employed to give yourself brief emotional breaks throughout your day to be grateful, to meditate, or to read/watch something inspirational. Physical breaks for a short walk, to eat a healthy snack or meal, and stretch or exercise should also be worked in. If you are tempted to think that building in these breaks will interrupt & negatively affect your productivity, resist that temptation. I promise you these rhythms will enhance your productivity. A healthy you is a productive you.
Second, give yourself one day a week to recharge. Some call this a Sabbath, which is certainly a Biblical concept: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” – Exodus 20:8-10. But you do not need to be a Bible believer to understand the wisdom of a day of rest. Your workplace, whether that is a vocation, running a home, or volunteer work, will take as much of your time as you will give it. Work is never done. So, build a rhythm into your life that gives you a day to recharge. My Sabbath day mantra is “Father, Feast, Fun, Family.” For my healthy benefit, I know that worshipping God, enjoying food, engaging in watching or playing games, and being with my family, recharge me for the coming week. What recharges or refreshes you? Build these into your weekly rhythm.
Finally, take advantage of all awarded vacation & holiday time. Two things I said often during my vocational working years: 1) “You are not a hero if you turn in unused vacation days at the end of the year,” and 2) “Vacation is often an excuse to work from somewhere else.” The first is healthy and the second is not. Your employer extends the benefit of vacation & holiday time – even if this is not explicitly stated – because they know you are more productive throughout a given year when you can recharge for an extended period. Take advantage of this. Certainly, the reality with many jobs is that when we are away, things come up that need our attention, at least briefly. Live with that reality but set it aside as quickly as you can and resume recharging. Rest well.