Work, exercise, learning, travel, family and social connections are elements of a successful and happy life. In order to sustain our ability to thrive in all these areas, we must make room for an often overlooked necessity: Rest! Here are my recommendations for physical, mental, and emotional renewal and recovery.
1. Get a massage: The Aston® massage techniques I use in my sessions are highly suited to promote recovery of the body’s tissues. They avoid compression or bruising even while working very deeply. Tension is released, inflammation is reduced, while the free flow of blood and lymph is encouraged. It is the perfect way to recover from a strenuous workout or a weekend of gardening. Please email me to schedule your next session.
2. Spend time in nature: Some surprising research points to the fact that we derive great benefits from spending time in a natural setting. The Japanese even have a beautiful word for it: Shinrin-Yoku, or “Forest Bathing.” Our mindset benefits and our immune system can see measurable improvements. Even if you can’t often take a vacation in nature, even a city park will do. For more information, read the article “Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning.”
3. Sleep: As the nights get longer here in the Northern Hemisphere, we should take our cue from the natural world and give ourselves the gift of a good night’s sleep. Recent scientific studies point to the importance of sleep in vital functions:
- wellness and immunity (article on sleep and health)
- athletic performance (article about NFL players’ sleep)
- cognitive performance (article about sleep and public safety)
- emotional well-being (article about sleep and mental health)
- weight management (article on sleep and obesity)
In this culture, where high productivity is a virtue, people sometimes brag about getting by on very little sleep. This makes as much sense as bragging that we get by without vitamins or that we only breathe half as much as other people. Unfortunately, one of the results of getting too little sleep is that we misjudge how well we are doing cognitively and we are deluded that we are fine. The first step is to recognize the importance of sleep and to prioritize it.
Here are some tips for more and better sleep:
- The most simple and under-appreciated bit of advice is: Go to bed early!
- eat lightly in the evening
- exercise regularly
- limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
- keep your bedroom dark and quiet
- keep a regular sleep schedule