Friday, 5 May 2017

The Importance Of Rest, Relaxation & Rejuvenation

I didn't have a specific post scheduled for today and while I had a few posts that I could have published, this one I felt personally I really wanted to talk about.

It all came about over the Easter Long Weekend.  I was competing in the Australian National Band Championships and had a rehearsal on the Friday, A-Grade championship performance on the Saturday, Gala Concert on the Sunday and then Monday I was helping out with a BBQ.  By Monday evening I was exhausted, both mentally and physically and the only other time where I can remember feeling like this was at the end of my degree last year.

So today we're going to have a chat about the importance of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation!  And probably other words which follow on with the same rhythm as these haha

I’ve written this paragraph, I don’t know how many times but I’m going to cut to the chase instead of giving your guys a novel.  As well as asking questions about our designs at university, our tutors would also ask how we were traveling personally.  How much sleep are you getting, are you eating enough, are you taking breaks?  Those sort of questions.  Another question which I was asked when I had an emotional breakdown and had myself convinced I was going to fail, was are you giving your mind a break and time to rest and re-build.

And the answer honestly was no.  I would work my ass off for way many hours of the dayI'd work well into the morning and then wake up a few hours later and do it all over again.  My mind didn't have an avenue to escape from my assignments.

While I slept really well through those hours of sleep, my mind wasn't getting the break it deservedIt’s one thing to let your body repair while you sleep but it’s another thing to allow the same for your mind.
REST - cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength.

Trying to fall asleep when your mind is buzzing with ideas can be a pain and in the past I’d end up just lying in bed thinking about my assignments instead of getting some shut eye.  While I’d fall asleep really quickly towards the end of semester, I’d always put a podcast on and this is something which I found helped with giving my mind a rest.

I would listen to Psychobabble or Hamish & Andy and because I was listening to what they were saying, my mind wasn’t consumed with thoughts of university so I’d have how many hours sleep which didn’t involve me dreaming about assignments.  I’d wake up later in the morning (because who can afford to go to bed before midnight, when there are assignments) and my mind would feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.  There would be days where I would still physically feel tired and want a few extra zzz’s but mentally, I was feeling as good as ever!

Nowadays, I don’t have assignments to complete but I can still get completely run down.  As was said at the start of this post, I was a little worse for wear after a long weekend of music and essentially crashed on the Tuesday when I was in town.  I was going to be handing out resumes, but ended up crying and  going home.  Not good. 

RELAX - the state of being free from tension and anxiety.

It’s so important to take time out for yourself.  Setting aside and evening, a day or the weekend to focus on yourself can do you the world of good.  Getting enough sleep for your body is important but your mind also needs to rejuvenate and have a rest as well.  This is something that my university tutors would always ask if we were getting.  Yes you need sleep, but your mind also needs some love and attention so you’re able to be your best.

So you want to set the evening aside?  If you have a bath grab a bath bomb, or some bath salts and give yourself a soak.  You can watch a movie or that tv series you are obsessed with or just pop some gentle music on to relax your mind.  Just don’t fall asleep because that could be asking for trouble.  If I ever want to give my mind a break, I turn to spotify for a playlist that will help me relax and just tune out.  While I love to listen to what is on my tune palette playlist, I find this doesn’t allow me to rest and relax my mind so I switch between the Deep Focus and Chill Out Music playlists to help my mind relax.

On YouTube there are so many pamper routine videos and if you want some ideas I’d go there.  I'm also that person who adores YouTube and of an evening, just cosying up somewhere and watching a few videos is a nice way to just have some time for me.

Yoga and meditation are also other ways which many (many!) people do to relax their mind.  You're focusing on your body, listening to your body, and being mindful of what is happening.

If you're like me and not the best at yoga and want to do something else, here are some more suggestions of what you can do to relax:

  • Going for a walk
  • Play a sport which you love or do exercise in general
  • Watch a movie or a tv series
  • Have a go at a puzzle and focus on that
  • Read anything you prefer
  • Focus on your breathing
  • Bake
  • Get creative

Recently, I have discovered my new found love with the kitchen and also with being creative.  I'm a creative person and love dabbling in new things but recently I've had so many ideas of things that I've wanted to make.  Focusing my energy on something which gets my creative mind juices flowing (yep went there and it sounds weird), really gives my mind a break, even though I am using it.  Same with cooking, I can just get into the zone of baking cupcakes or preparing food for dinner, it's like a different version of me time haha

REJUVENATION - the action or process of making someone of something look  or feel better, younger, or more vital.

Last thing I want to touch on is sleep.  As has been said before in this post, it's important for both your body and mind to get proper sleep.  Something which really helps set you up for a good nights sleep, what you do before you get some shut eye.
I will admit, I use my phone while I'm in bed.  I'll turn off my light, roll over grab my phone, roll the other way and use my phone.  Social media, games, looking through photos and messaging my friends - I do it, you've done it - but it's something I am trying to get out of the habit of doing. 
Creating a bedtime ritual is such a personal thing and what works for others may not work for you but it's still an interesting topic to touch on.  I shower at during the evening and this for me is a huge part of my bedtime ritualI'm out of whatever I've been wearing that day and into my pyjamas, my bed has partially been undone because I needed to get to my pjs
Winding down and preparing for bed just gets you in the mindset that it's time for sleep.  I don't have a set bedtime but introducing a time where you want to be in bed by and a time at which you'd want to wake up at and then sticking to that also really helps with a better nights sleep.
Your evening skincare routine can work with your bedtime rituals and you can make this a part of your evening which really gets your body and mind ready for a night of slumber! 
Creating a restful environment can also help you sleep better.  Something as simple as new curtains has improved my sleep quality in such a significant way.  I know new curtains isn't an option for everyone, but grabbing a sleep mask is the next best thing!  Can feel a bit odd but after a while, you'll get used to it!
And lastly, reducing the amount of technology I use leading up to going to sleep is something I'm working on.  Phones and laptops are stimulating objects and really do the opposite for you when you want to fall asleep.  I like to shut my laptop off and put it back in its case and then I won't touch it until the next morning.  Now the challenge is to start doing the same with my phone!
Oh there is a lot of writing here!!  I feel I've only touched the surface on this!!  If you want to hear more, let me know in the comments and I can talk about it more in the future!!
Do you have any tips for relaxing or anything I've spoken about?  

Until next time, keep smiling :)  Em xx

PS!  Come and say hello!!! :) x

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