A good night’s rest is not always enough to get us back on our feet and for good reason: physical fatigue is not the only reason for all our ailments. According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a physician who specializes in the study of work-life balance and its consequences on health, the human body (and mind) needs 7 different types of rest to recharge its batteries, continue to function fully, and avoid burnout. So let’s take a closer look at what the researcher is talking about…
Obviously, physical rest involves a good night’s sleep and on this subject science agrees on the fact that everyone should sleep a minimum of 7 to 8 hours per night. You can also take short naps whenever you feel the need during the day. That’s for the passive physical rest side.
But that’s not all. Dalton-Smith highlights the importance of active physical rest: that is to say, performing stretching and mobility exercises on a daily basis or even going for a massage from time to time, but also having a work environment that spares your body (an ergonomic chair if you work in an office, for example).
If you are constantly looking for solutions to your professional problems (and personal problems as well, to tell the truth), you have it all wrong and the quality of your thinking will deteriorate quite quickly. To avoid this continual mental load, you would benefit from learning to draw up lists of (achievable) tasks, to plan your days in advance by reserving break slots. The expert also recommends establishing standard lists for your shopping, for example, or to prepare your suitcases. Meditating can also help.
Don’t feel obligated to respond favorably to all your friends’ invitations. Dalton-Smith advises reevaluating his friendships. Ask yourself two questions: Who are the friends who give me energy? Who are the ones who take it from me? You will know who to spend the most time with. And don’t forget to spend time alone too, it’s important.
Having a job that gives you a sense of social purpose is priceless. Not everyone has this opportunity but should aspire to it. Volunteer if you have the time and inclination. Finally, it’s up to you to live your faith/spirituality and align your values with your daily actions.
The modern man is far too stimulated. We spend too much time on social media getting mini dopamine shots throughout the day. Do not hesitate to take a break: mute your notifications (audible and visual). During your working hours, limit video meetings. Don’t stay in an endless tunnel of visual and auditory stimulation. Relax once at home by lighting a candle and playing soft music.
Dalton-Smith explains that we lack “emotional rest” when we can’t be authentic on a daily basis. Perhaps you are in a representative position or are constantly dealing with a clientele that involves you in unusual and standardized behavior. One advice in this regard: spend as much time as possible with people with whom you can really be yourself.
Good ideas are not in front of a screen. So, spend time in nature (walk in the forest, in a park or a garden, wait for the sunset, watch the waves, the current of a river…). Go see an exhibition, read a good book or carefully watch a documentary whose subject interests you. Listen to an entire album instead of your usual playlists. Art, in all its forms, inspires and gives us a better understanding of the world if we take the time to dedicate our full attention to it.