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by Lee Grigsby
Technology these days is pretty awesome, and fairly reliable, depending on what you use it for and how tech savvy you are.
Well, sometimes your devices act a little wonky… they need a quick timeout to catch up on processing, they might need a quick restart to clear the cache, or they might actually need a hard reboot to give all the applications a good refresh.
Believe it or not, people are no different. Sometimes we need a quick timeout in order for our brains to catch up on what we’re thinking about, we might need a little restart in order to get a clearer picture of what we’re doing, or we might even need a hard reboot in order to get back on track and feel energized to continue to cross off things on our ever-growing to-do lists.
The great thing that I want to say about “rest” is that it is perfectly normal and OK! Let me say that another way… it is perfectly fine, and more necessary than we know, to take a timeout, restart, or reboot! Just like our tech, we are not meant to run 24/7, 365 days a year. Below are some tips on how to:
- Rest days from your workout routine (quick timeout)
- Meditation and mindfulness (“getting away”) (quick restart)
- Sleep (a hard reboot)
Adding rest days to your routine
On the LifeShot podcast, there is an episode where Massimo Gaetani was giving advice on how regularly to train. (listen from about 40 minutes into the conversation)
Being careful to not overdo your workouts or your life is a skill that you need to learn. I see people overworking all the time and I ask myself why do they do it to themselves? Work is, in a way, understandable we all want to make an impression and not look like we are dragging the team down. But when it comes to workouts it is a little easier to take rest days, in fact, your rest days may even turn into rest weeks if we are not careful!
It is not true for everyone, and this article is for those who are pushing themselves too hard. They are overtraining and not sleeping well. If this is you, then we want to say LOOK AFTER YOURSELF! There is always another day, and not everything has to be achieved in 1 year!
Give yourself a break. Let your body recover, give it some proper R&R as they call it (rest and relaxation). You will feel better afterwards and you will not lose any performance, in fact, you may find that your performance increases!
One of Massimo’s major themes was what he calls the “reset effect”, where you feel rejuvenated after entering into your workout. It’s a kind of reset button for your mind, to get your mind off of your tasks, your troubles and your plans, and rather just be in the moment during your training.
Mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness and meditation come in all shapes and sizes.
Mindfulness – Be present in everyday moments
Mindfulness can be done anywhere. You could be having a shower and be in a place of mindfulness. When you are in the shower, focus on the water hitting your head, feel the water hitting your back, hear the sound that the water makes, that is mindfulness.
Make a conscious effort not to think about your daily stresses or your past mistakes, just live in that moment. That is one way of mindfulness.
Meditation – A prolonged state of concentration
Where mindfulness is focusing on the task or experience that you are going through right at that moment, meditation is for a prescribed amount of time and usually does not involve everyday tasks.
Mindfulness supports or is at the heart of your meditation practice.
Meditation is usually done for a particular amount of time. During this time you are not going about your daily tasks, but rather you are doing something intentional as a form of being still, slowing down and moving your awareness and energy to a certain area of your mind.
Some choose to meditate in a way that is very different from this, such as seeing yourself as no-thing, no-where and in no-time. This is probably a more advanced way to meditate.
The importance of sleep
Getting sleep is one of the most important and best ways for us to “reboot” our bodies and minds. When tired, you are more likely to make poor decisions, doubt yourself, and feel foggy-brained or anxious. Factors that can influence the quality and quantity of sleep are:
- Eating late at night
- Consuming caffeine after 2 pm
- Doing brain stimulating work before bed
- Surfing the net or scrolling through social media before bed
- Charging electronics near your bed
- Watching anything stimulating, such as the news
Even while several of these activities may help you wind down from the day, it is really difficult for your brain to “shut down” quickly to allow for deep and restorative sleep. One activity that can help is to create a Power Down Hour.
One hour before you want to go to sleep, begin powering down all of your electronics and create a routine with relaxing activities. This will ready your system physically and psychologically for sleep. The Power Down Hour should be a routine that is flexible so that it can continue to grow and evolve with you. This routine will also help you get to sleep at a regular time consistently, which will help reset your circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm coordinates a natural ebb and flow of different bodily processes happening at specific points throughout the day such as metabolism, immunity, sex drive, and cognitive functions, among many other things.
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Many experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night as optimal, but no one is exactly the same and it is about finding the amount that works best for you. Below are some tips to help create and build your power down and routine:
- Create an aesthetic environment in your bedroom that encourages sleep ie. serene, restful colours and no clutter (try to keep family photos in a different room too)
- Avoid caffeine or reduce it after midday – it may make sleep restless and worse
- Avoid alcohol – it may aid sleep but makes your sleep interrupted and of poor quality
- Get regular exposure to daylight for at least 20 minutes daily. The light from the sun enters your eyes and triggers your brain to release specific chemicals and hormones like melatonin that are vital to healthy sleep, mood, and ageing
- Eat no later than two hours before bed—eating a heavy meal prior to bed will lead to a bad night’s sleep and will impede the body’s overnight detoxification process
- Write your worries down. During your Power Down Hour, write down what is causing you anxiety and make plans for what you can do the next day to reduce your worry. It will free up your mind and energy to move into a deep and restful sleep
- Listen to relaxing music, white noise or ocean sounds to help you sleep