If you are constantly on the go, it might be hard to take a break. Whether you’ve got too much going on or feel guilty for allowing for some “you” time, there are benefits of resting and relaxing, especially during the cold months. Taking a break isn’t something to feel guilty about; it’s crucial to your health. In a world where productivity and hustle culture are praised, it might be hard to justify even napping, much less taking mental health days or choosing to spend time with yourself doing what makes you happy.
Winter Is a Time of Rest
You might enjoy the cold, but the constant snow and low temperatures can make it hard to do even basic activities for many. Many animals hibernate in the winter to conserve energy, but humans are different in that we still operate during the colder months. As a result, our energy levels are depleted due to the lack of sun. Additionally, our bodies use extra energy to stay warm and often feel sluggish.
When civilization was primarily agricultural, many would return to the home and focus on indoor activities like needlework, quilting, or knitting. Now that most work isn’t reliant on what’s going on outside, we still work despite the colder weather. However, because many people feel more tired during this time of year, winter is a time to conserve energy, take it easy, and practice self-care.
Burnout Is Dangerous
Even when it isn’t below freezing, it’s still easy to feel overwhelmed or tired from working all of the time. Our culture incentivizes constant work, and others feel the pressure if they fall short of that ideal. While some might thrive from continuous movement, others might find themselves losing direction or feeling unmotivated, which can weigh on their mental health, leaving them feeling stressed out.
Burnout is dangerous because of the enormous impact it can have on our mental health. While there might be an incentive to work hard, like getting a project done on time, receiving a promotion, or even receiving verbal praise, it can still come at a cost. This is why it’s important to pay attention to how your work makes you feel. If you are losing motivation or feel tired, take a break. There’s no harm in relaxation. It doesn’t make you lazy. It just means that you are thinking about yourself and your needs first.
It’s All About Balance
There isn’t anything wrong with wanting to be productive. After all, staying busy is better than feeling bored. Accomplishing things on your to-do list releases the pleasure chemical dopamine. It’s the same reward system chemical released when using drugs or alcohol. Ideally, your day should be filled with tasks that bring you closer to accomplishing your goals. However, it’s possible to overdo your to-do.
If your day is crammed with activities without a moment of rest, it’s easy to become burned out. If rest isn’t in your schedule, you can find yourself struggling to keep up. Your body will feel it, and your mental health will suffer. Constantly working can become toxic, leaving you stressed and tired, forgetting why you started it all in the first place. Eventually, you’ll reach a breaking point, and if you’re someone in recovery, that could mean a relapse.
Ways to Rest
You might not be familiar with healthy ways to rest, especially in early recovery. Your way of relaxing before might have included opening up a few beers and sitting in front of the television until you felt tired enough to go to sleep. There are plenty of better ways to unwind after a long hard day or take ten minutes for yourself before getting back to work. These can include:
- Yoga flows
- Mindful meditations
- Coloring in an adult coloring book
- Creating something with your hands
- Reading a book
- Journaling your thoughts
- Going for a short walk
- Playing a video game
- Watching a few episodes of your favorite show
Giving Yourself the Day
Rest is about giving your body and mind time to heal and process the day. Once in a while, you might want to consider taking a “mental health day,” a day off that’s dedicated to recharging. Not everyone can sacrifice a day off of their workweek; however, reserve the day to yourself on your day off. You might feel selfish initially, especially if your days off are few and far between, but you deserve a break. Despite other expectations, taking care of yourself isn’t being selfish; it’s practicing self-care.
Don’t be afraid to give yourself at least one day to focus on rejuvenating your mind, body, and spirit, free of the stresses that come from work and home. This break can allow you to reset, come back to work, and accomplish your list of things that need to get done with a clear head and a healed body. You might feel selfish taking time to rest, mainly because we incentivize constant work. However, your body and your brain need rest to function properly. At Jaywalker Lodge, we include rest and relaxation time in our schedule because we know how valuable taking moments for ourselves can be for our well-being. If you’d like to learn more about being better at resting, call us today at (866) 529-9255. We can provide plenty of tips to take time for yourself this winter while still honoring your sobriety and prioritizing your overall wellness.
As Chief Executive Officer Bill provides leadership and manage all day-to-day operations of Jaywalker Lodge, an extended care residential addiction treatment program for adult men.