Welcome to day 6 of The Self Mastery Series, where today we are going to be looking at the quality of the rest that you are getting. There are different types of rest that are important: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. We will be covering these. Today is physical rest. Sleep is a massive part of your physical rest; however, this is an often misunderstood aspect. Most of us know from somewhere that 8 hours is optimal for an adult and more for children. I would suggest that you can both under sleep and oversleep, so it is important for you to find out how much you need. For me, 6-7 hours is good. Any less and it seriously affects me, and any more and I seem to become overtired, lazy and quite low in mood. So, aim for at least 6, and know that you probably do not need more than 8 or 9 hours maximum.
Onto another important part of physical rest- how to recover. Many of us consider lying in front of the tv or reading or sitting on our phone as restful as we are not physically over-exhorting ourselves, sweating or out of breath. However, it is not quite like this. Just because we are sitting or lying down, our minds may be going through stressful or negative emotions and situations and so sending our body into alert mode. We may feel sluggish and low in mood after lying around supposedly resting. This is not all just co-incidence.
I am going to suggest a slightly more novel way of approaching physical rest. I have found that when I have a day off from work and exercising on a Sunday, my mood is likely to fluctuate, I can become oversensitive to stimulus and my energy levels drop dramatically. In the past I have lain down on the sofa, watching tv or hours, thinking that this was getting quality rest. But now I know that my body is not resting and recovering just because I am lying down. Here are five things that I have found help you to rest and recover your body:
- Lie down for five minutes, listening to some relaxing music, and completely relax. Do not pay attention to any thoughts, simply lie, breathe deeply, and listen to the music. Say to yourself, this is my relaxing time. I have found that just five minutes of this can be more beneficial than hours lying on the sofa.
- Stand outside in the fresh air and inhale and exhale deeply for 20 breaths. Keep your head up, your posture alert and look up, with your hands on your hips in a powerful pose.
- Do something active and challenging with your brain: crosswords, apps, su doku, conversations, puzzles. Anything that challenges your brain!
- Have some quiet time, where you allow yourself to just sit and stare and not think anything particularly at all.
- Plan out some things to look forward to- events, catch ups with friends, anything active- it will allow your brain to think thoughts of excitement and energy, which will help your system in having good things to focus and prepare itself for.
In crafting Self Mastery in our lives, it is fundamentally important that we balance our work with rest, our play with challenge and our spirit with silence and space. Embracing this and making sure to get good quality rest to revitalise you, lift your spirits and fire you up for whatever comes next in your life!
Day 6 Actions
Pay attention to how much sleep you need. Keep a sleep journal of what time you go to bed and how many hours sleep you get. Comment on how your energy levels are on each day and look for patterns to help you find where you are at your best.