How often are you in fact truly “offline”?

When do you rest, take a break, sit back, and breathe one uninterrupted breath? By that, I mean no phone, no iPad, no laptop, no TV, no discussion, no dialogue, no debate………. just pure, genuine silence.

Why is rest so important?

Far too often you avoid taking vacations, seldom taking a weekend off, and instead you battle stress, illness and the constant pressure to find time for all your commitments (fuelled by the belief that long work hours are the norm and required if you want to succeed in your career).

Often you are neglecting the most important commitments; the ones you make to yourself – your commitment to eat well, to exercise, to read, to relax and to enjoy the journey of life. By doing this you are unfortunately focussing only on the short term without much thought about the long term impact on your health, your relationships, and your overall wellbeing, often until it is far too late.

Isn’t it strange how we remind our children all the time of the importance of taking a nap, yet we very seldom follow the same advice?

A reminder of the high-level benefits of rest and sleep:
  • Sleep boosts your immune system – infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
  • Sleep improves your memory – while we sleep, memories and skills are shifted to more efficient and permanent brain regions, making for higher proficiency the next day.
  • Sleep restores and energises – when you sleep, your body and brain re-energise cells, clear waste and create memories, protecting your overall health and regulating specific functions that guide your mood, appetite, cognitive abilities and libido.
  • Sleep stimulates creativity – REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep) contributes tremendously to making people more creative; certainly something we all need in world of constant change.
  • Sleep helps with weight management – within just four days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly use insulin becomes completely disrupted and eventually this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places.
  • Sleep helps you stay mentally and emotionally fit – chronic sleep disruption sets the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability.
  • Sleep improves concentration and productivity – getting enough sleep is key for cementing what you have learnt during the day and even if you are moderately sleep-deprived, you have a 50% slower response time and lower accuracy rate on simple tasks than a person who is under the influence of alcohol.
  • Sleep improves your health – major restorative functions in the body such as tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis occur almost exclusively during sleep.
  • Sleep beautifies since it slows down the ageing process – perhaps one of the most interesting benefits of sleep is its ability to delay ageing.
  • Rest and sleep make you happier – lack of sleep can bring about a whole range of negative thoughts and sleep quality is considered the single most influential factor in rating daily mood.
  • Sleep makes you eat fewer calories – when you get enough sleep you tend to eat fewer calories and sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation.
  • Sleep helps you experience less pain – people with sleep problems have increased sensitivity to pain and it could also have an impact on the effects of painkillers which appear to be blunted after chronic sleep loss.

The world will not stop on its axis should you take a break. In fact, your world may just start spinning a little more smoothly, a tad more effectively, as you enjoy the benefits of living “unplugged” and experiencing life going on all around you; seeing the beauty, noticing the smiles on peoples faces when you walk through the door, noticing your soul smile when you see it once again.

Stop saying you don’t have time for these important things. The more you say you don’t have time, the less time you are going to have. Remember that your repeated words create your reality.

Recreation is just that – re-creation. Take time to rest and to nurture your most valuable relationships. They are, after all, what life is truly about. Don’t wait until you eventually only have time just to find that they may no longer be around.

Start with your relationship with yourself, since this is where all re-creation begins.

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