In Winchester last weekend, local artist HENDOG left a ‘gift’ for all mothers on Mother’s Day, a mural of a young boy flying a kite. Initially, it sparked a lot of speculation whether it was the work of Banksy, which reminded me of a great quote of his: “If you get tired, learn to rest – not to quit!”
How many of us right now are feeling spent and in need of a holiday? The last 12 months have tested even the most resilient among us. I have been beating myself up for counting down the days to the weekend; for craving some summer sunshine, a nice beach and a cocktail. Beating myself up because the working week is less physically tiring when working from home and not driving around the country. So why do I feel so worn out? I think, as is the case for lots of us, the impact of the last year has mostly been on my mental health. Physically, aside from tired, I’m the fittest I’ve ever been and I’m feeling strong. However, whilst I have the energy to go for a walk or a run, just getting out of bed can be a struggle; staying focused on a task is hard; getting the To Do list done is a challenge, because mentally, I’m just exhausted. Shockingly, following an afternoon in front of the TV I rarely emerge feeling rested.
So how can we ensure we get adequate rest and get back to feeling our best?
I’ve picked out 3 areas you can improve and provided some tips to hopefully help you do so:
- Physical rest – it’s easier said than done, but get ample sleep! Add a yoga session to your routine and notice the difference not only on your aching muscles, but the improvement to your quality of sleep. Some of us are exercising a lot more than we ever have done, especially as during the first lockdown there was a lot of importance (rightly so) put upon keeping fit. Now we are a year on, maybe it’s time to drop a HIIT session or shorten that walk, just until you get back to recognizing the zombie in the mirror.
- Social/sensory rest – video calls are wearing and more taxing on our brains and eyes. Pick up the phone and make a call; write a letter (old school but proven to support good mental health); try a What’s App voice note that can be listened to in the recipient’s own time. Also take the time to get off the screen. Give yourself a break from social media and media in general. A colleague recently shared that since stopping watching the evening news, how much lighter she feels!
- Mental rest – I’m enjoying more time to read, but sometimes I find myself staring at the same page for 5 minutes. Anyone else zoning out in Zoom calls? It’s ok if you are, Zoom fatigue is a real thing. The best way to clear your mind is through meditation and mindfulness. I was skeptical at first too! Download the Headspace app or check out their short series on Netflix, A Guide to Meditation. Find what works for you to give you back some mental peace.
Whatever you do, learn to rest, don’t quit. I am a trained Mental Health First Aider and as a business we greatly value mental health and wellbeing.