One of the biggest things that I’ve seen come out of working with women in business in 2021 is burnout. It has hit so many people that I know and I think that one of the key things that we need to learn to do is rest and rest well..
Do you know how to fully switch off and allow yourself to recharge?
If you’re wanting to go all in and slay in 2022 you may need to learn to rest in order to rise. That means practicing how to rest and rest without the guilt, rest without all of the thoughts that run through your mind 24/7 about work and about business that are causing the mental and emotional exhaustion of constant thinking about what it is that you need to do. A Restful state is when our body has allowed our autonomic nervous system to come back into balance. The autonomic nervous system is basically our body’s control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates our bodily functions, such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal. This system is what controls our fight-or-flight response.
It’s when we come down from a stressed state and allow ourselves to fully rest
When we are in intense work modes where we’re constantly going, going, going, doing all the things, running onto the next and the next thing, we could possibly be running in a stressed state, which is our autonomic nervous system kicking into the fight or flight response.
When the fight or flight response is triggered, our brain tells our body to create hormones like cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenalin ( another stress hormone) because our brain is telling our bodies that we are under threat and it’s time to be on alert and ready to fight, fly or freeze.
When this intensity becomes our norm, because we’re telling ourselves we have to keep hustling and rest is only for lazy people, we never actually allow our body and brain to relax, which could lead to exhaustion, fatigue, burnout and dis-ease in the body.
If this is you, there are three key shifts you need to make before you burnout.
- Change your thoughts about what REST means
Rest is not just for lazy people, rest, just like failure is an important part of your entrepreneurial success, you need to for many reasons. Some being to be able to tap into your creativity, be a good problem solver, have high energy for big projects, etc. The list goes on. Ultimately, you need to remember that you are human and rest is what you need in order to show up as the best version of yourself. You need to rest to prepare for the rise.
- Learn how to bring your autonomic nervous system back to balance. The easiest and simplest way to do this is using your breath. Yes, your breath. Allow yourself to practice breathing states throughout the day to reduce the overwhelm and to reduce the stress out of the fight or flight response and into equilibrium. The way that I suggest you do this is if you notice when you’re in a really stressed state, and we can notice this by recognizing when we’re talking really really fast, when we’re breathing really shallow from your upper chest, when we’re go and you can’t stop and think clearly.
One breathing technique is to close your eyes, place one hand on your chest, and one hand on your belly. Breathe deep into your belly counting to 6, and then breathing out with a count of 6. Do this 5-6 times and pay attention to your heart rate slowing down and your breathes becoming deeper and slower.
Now if that’s difficult, then what you want to do is breathe in for four and out for six instead. So we are exhaling longer than inhaling which will calm your nervous system down even more. If you want to take this to the next level, repeat in your mind as you breathe the mantra.
“I am safe. I am calm. I am at peace.”
Bring some of these breathing patterns into your day to calm your nervous system down.
- Have blocks of time when you’re not consuming any information. We live in a world of constant consumption and our senses are on sensory overload. We’re on screens, 24/7, our phones, laptops, we’re watching TV, we’re interacting with people. We’re basically asking our brains to be ON all the time and that makes it really difficult to actually switch off, process and recharge.
What I would suggest is to have blocks of time where you are not consuming anything. I like to do this on a walk where I don’t listen to anything. I’ll just notice the surroundings, the sound of my steps or breathing and just enjoy the space.
- Prioritize sleep and prepare your brain to enter deep sleep for recovery
Learning to rest is super important for your ability to manage your energy and also your ability to be productive and the best way to rest is to get deep sleep so your body fully recovers.
How many hours of sleep are you getting at night? Is it restless, sleep or deep restful sleep?
With so much work and so many screens in our lives, so many people struggle to enter a Deep sleep state because are brains are so active. Deep sleep is the most restorative stage of sleep which allows for energy restoration, cell regeneration, increasing blood supply to muscles, promoting growth and repair of tissues and bones and strengthening the immune system.To prepare your brain for sleep reduce the hours of screen time at night, at least no screens 60 minutes before bed, stop eating also one hour before bed, dim the lights in your house a few hours before bed so your brain knows it’s time to slow down, and no work in bed. Working in bed causes our brain to believe that when you’re in bed it’s time to work, your bed is for sleeping, so leave it for that.
If you are really struggling to rest, take the time throughout Christmas and New Year’s if you can to really allow yourself to switch off, put work away, it will still be there when you get back. As many full days with no work as you can, with a few of these practices will help you develop good habits for the new year and will allow you to start 2022 fresh.