Whatever happened to rest? In our 24/7 world, rest is sneered at, a sign of weakness, an indulgence, a flaw. Some of us carry our stress as a badge of honor, to show how hard we work. Inside, though, we may be crying for sleep, and dreaming of a new support group, where we can go and say, “Hello, my name is (blank), and I am tired.”
Newsflash, our bodies are designed to work and then rest and repair. Getting some much needed sleep is not a sign of failure. It is a sign of being smart, because you are taking care of your body, your brain, and your emotional health.
Stress and depression magnify fatigue. And being exhausted can make your stress and depression symptoms worse. If you are dealing with stress and trying to beat depression, could it be you have too much on your plate?
Analyze your agenda. Is your daily planner so full that you don’t have time to breathe? Or it may be blank because your mind is so overloaded you can’t even write things down. Do you really have to do all that? Is any of it really someone else’s problem? What could you leave off?
Make time for down time. Commit to giving rest and relaxation the same importance as all the things you have to do.
Being sedentary wears you out. If you work at a desk all day, plopping down in front of the TV at night is not resting your body, or your mind. You may feel too tired to leave the couch. But your body needs movement to replenish it with oxygen and burn off the adrenaline from your stressful day. A short walk or workout will soothe your achiness, clear your mind, and help your get some real sleep at night.
Drink more water. When we are going non-stop, it is easy to become dehydrated, which in turn makes us more fatigued.
“Learn to do nothing,” is the advice of the Australian government’s Better Health Channel. People everywhere have forgotten how to relax. Meditation is a great way to release the stress of the day, and recharge our energy stores.
Take a nap. If you are about to fall over trying to make it through your day, a quick lunchtime nap can make all the difference to your afternoon.
Say “goodnight” to your computer. The light from tablets and computer screens disrupts the day and night messages in your brain. Log-off earlier to help you unwind.
Years ago a listener at a lecture by Dr. Herbert Benson asked him for help, because she kept falling asleep when she tried to meditate. “I think your body is trying to tell you something,” was his reply. From the audience response, it was clear she was not alone.
When you are stressed out or trying hard to beat depression, listen to what your body is telling you. It is okay to put down the weight of the world. Close your eyes and get some rest.
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