As athletes who tend to pursue their sport on a daily basis, surfers have a number of recovery needs, including proper nutrition and rest.
But do you ever feel like no mater how much sleep you get, you are still exhausted? That’s because there are actually seven different types of rest that people need.
The first is obvious—and one that we talk about a lot. Physical rest is just as
important as physical activity, even for professional-level athletes who do endurance sports and other activities that require a lot of training. As it turns out, physical training is basically pointless unless you give your body the opportunity to recover and repair itself after the training—and that typically involves adequate sleep and days off from training so that your bodily systems can rebuild and become stronger. Physical rest can include passive rest (such as sleeping) as well as active rest (such as yoga, massage, and stretching).
But physical rest is only a small part of the equation. Mental rest is also important, because the brain controls your body’s hormones, and stress hormones such as cortisol can have a deleterious affect on your body. The best way to rest your mind is to take breaks every hour or two while working and engaging in mentally challenging projects. The Pomodoro technique is a great way to do this. In the Pomodoro technique, you schedule yourself 25-minute blocks to work on projects, and then five minute rests after every 25-minute block. Then, after doing four or five cycles, take a longer, 20-minute break.
Sensory rest is also important, especially in our modern Internet age when we have devices with us all the time. The light from our devices can interfere with the production of melatonin, and the stress of constant communication and stimulating media can interfere with mental quietude and the ability to sleep. It is important to take time away from your devices, and to have a device curfew in the evenings, when you turn off your devices at least an hour before bed.
If your job requires you to be creative and brainstorm new ideas on a regular basis, you probably need Creative rest as well. Rather than thinking yourself into writer’s block and ultimately hitting a wall, take time out to appreciate things that inspire you. This can include art, natural beauty, or even time spent with a friend or mentor.
Another result of the Internet age is that we are expected to be available at all
hours of the day—and for many of us, that means keeping clients and other people happy all the time. This can be emotionally taxing, which is why emotional rest is also important. To nurture your emotional body, take some “me time” on a regular basis in which you don’t worry about keeping other people happy, but instead do things that make you happy. This can include hobbies and sports (like surfing), reading a book, or simply sitting in the sun and enjoying some quiet time.
Related to emotional rest is social rest. Social media has made it so that we are constantly socializing with people, whether at work, at home, or on our devices. Some of these people feed us emotionally and socially, but others drain us—especially people who are demanding and needy, or who get on our nerves. It is important to take some time each day when you can detach from these socially exhausting people.
Finally, spiritual rest is important for each of us, even if we aren’t part of an organized religion. Spiritual rest can involve anything from attending church and praying to meditating or simply spending time in nature. For some of us, surfing is our spiritual rest—especially when we can enjoy a few waves by ourselves! This spiritual reboot helps us get back in touch with our authentic selves and remember the things that are most important to us.
As you can see, there are a number of different ways to rest, and all of them are important. Next time you are feeling worn down, take stock of your lifestyle and see where you are lacking rest. Taking a few minutes each day to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit can go a long way toward making you healthier and happier!
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