The Need for RestNovember 20th, 2013 by David
Rest is a basic human need, just like food and sleep. Rest is different from sleep – it is taking time out before you get frazzled and melt down!
Often we can mask our need to have some ‘downtime’ with binge eating or stimulants like sugar or caffeine. We all have too many responsibilities and to-do lists to fit into the day’s limited hours, so often people feel guilty when indulging in something that they enjoy which is not ‘productive.’ On the contrary, indulging in a brisk walk, or enjoying a cup of tea whilst flicking through a magazine – even when you have a hectic schedule – can make you far more focused to carry out the tasks in hand.
Taking breaks from work is important for reducing the risk of eye and back strain, repetitive strain injury, tension, tiredness and stress.
Research shows that the human body functions on a pattern of ‘ultradian rhythms, which represent the cycles of energy bursts, which steadily decline over 90-120 minutes. Once the cycle is complete, the body requires rest to recover in order to efficiently embark on the next cycle of energy release and focus. Signs to indicate that you are reaching the end of the cycle include concentration struggles, hunger, tiredness and yawning and feeling restless. Are these the signs which usually prompt you to grab a coffee and hop back to work? Really you need to take a break, which will help you to re-focus and return to the task in hand feeling refreshed, rather than overwhelmed. Taking breaks helps to put things into better perspective.
Go for a walk or a jog, take the opportunity to use some stairs, do some yoga stretches, go get some fresh air or listen to some soothing music and escape just for a few minutes.
The need for rest is not just a mechanism for productivity and stress management during work hours; we also need to take extended breaks such as holidays or long weekends indulging in past-times that you love, such as joining a Yoga retreat with friends, going skiing, visiting family and just getting away from the routine of ‘normal life.’
Remember we respond to the need to rest by grabbing the remote control, binge eating sugary foods or drinking an excessive amount of coffee or
alcohol – these are all counter-productive, as they stress the system or zap the body of further energy.