Rest and Managing Stress – Level 3 of the Wellness Triangle

Anyone who has read even one article on general health and wellness requirements probably knows that 7-9 hours of sleep per night is recommended for adults. But that is far from the entire story. You need REST. By that I mean that your mind, body, and spirit are most powerful and productive when they are operating in the context of an unencumbered, balanced flow of energy at the cellular level. If you feel you are doing everything right when it comes to nutrition and exercise and you are still not at the weight or energy level or emotional balance that you want, it may be that you are not getting enough rest.

You can’t make up for lost sleep by staying in bed most of the weekend once every couple of months (my failed solution when the twins were young). And you can’t get by and function well on just 2, 3, even 5 hours of sleep a night – or even more hours if those hours are interrupted. Restful sleep is sleep that is uninterrupted and that goes through four stages of increasing depth/slowing. For a simple summary describing this type of sleep, see Note that not getting enough level 4 deep sleep not only prevents your brain from processing information you have received during the day and prevents the release of hormones necessary for proper growth, but this lack also predisposes you to diseases such as: Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Aside from getting enough restful sleep, you are most likely to reach your personal optimal health when you live a restful lifestyle. This includes such practices as (and these are just a few examples):

  • Beginning your day with at least 15 minutes of prayer/meditation/yoga or another practice that helps you to face the demands of the day ahead with strength, optimism, hope, and confidence. Ending your day 30 minutes before bedtime by shutting off devices and creating a dark, quiet space reserved just for sleep.
  • Having a weekly calendar that budgets time for sleep, meals, family, work/school, exercise, etc. Rather than being a rigid rule that can cause more harm than good, use the time blocks to be a support to your desire to be fully “present” for each part of your life. If something comes up, you have a map that helps you to reschedule and feel assured that those tasks that are truly important will get done. Whenever possible, make your plan with input from those with whom you have the closest relationships.
  • Writing your short- and long-term goals down and putting dates on them. This is even useful when it comes to your to-do list for the next day. The more specifics you can write down before you try to go to sleep, the more you are telling yourself that you know what needs to be done and that you will get to those things – and, therefore, that it’s okay to just relax and sleep well in the meantime.
  • Taking some time during each day to break away from intense focus and do something non-intellectual: sketch, sing, draw, stretch, get outside for some fresh air. If you have a block of time, try gardening, knitting, or cooking/preparing a special dish from whole, fresh ingredients.
  • Taking an entire day or at least a few hours at one time once a week to detach more fully. If you have a faith practice, this might be a special time of reflection.
  • Forgiving yourself and others quickly and certainly before you go to sleep each night. Ask for forgiveness when it’s possible. This is completely independent of whether others ask for or give forgiveness (we’re talking about rest for YOU here).
  • Keeping a gratitude journal and noticing things that you are grateful for throughout each day.
  • Taking time to have fun, to laugh, to dream and to socialize with friends and family.

You may believe that you’re too busy or that your life is too full of pressure or drama to try these or similar practices. Let me assure you that that’s exactly why you NEED to consider them. RESTFULNESS (you could also call it PEACE or CONTENTMENT) is a gift that you give yourself. The fact that it spills out to bless everyone around you is a bonus. But it starts with you making the decision that you are worth taking care of no matter what. I started Wellness Made Simple because I believe in you and your ability to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle for yourself and those you love.

You may be thinking that you could use some help when you are trying to quiet your emotions, focus on long-range plans, practice forgiveness when your heart is hurting, or just shut off your racing thoughts. doTERRA essential oils can help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you’d like to be. Getting essential oils to your brain, into your bloodstream, and to every cell – especially through diffusion/inhalation – can literally change your mood and focus in minutes. Emotional aromatherapy works because it bypasses your intellect and supports your mind and body as they react naturally in ways that are most helpful to your well-being.

At Wellness Made Simple, we encourage you to build restfulness into everything you do. And we offer support, resources, and products to empower you to succeed!

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