Why rest and recovery is essential during difficult times

Between the coronavirus pandemic, a mass economic downturn, and a global protest movement fueled by systematic bias and racism, it’s an understatement to say we’re “going through a lot.” And if we’re being honest, there’s still a long road ahead as this health, social, and economic crises are likely not going to be solved by the end of summer. 

There’s only one way for each of us to get through this in a healthy way: making rest and recovery a priority in our lives.

This goes beyond just getting enough sleep. It’s about carving out space and time to be with our thoughts and connect with a deeper part of ourselves. If rest isn’t a priority in your life now, these ideas can help you get started. 

Recognize the warning signs of exhaustion: If you’re getting enough sleep and still waking up tired, it’s a sign that you probably don’t need more sleep — you need more restoration and recovery breaks throughout the day. Irritability, inability to focus, a lack of energy — these are all signs that we need to restore ourselves. 

Claim your right to rest: For an athlete, for example, rest days are just as important as training days — without recovery, the body would not be able to perform. Similarly, pilots, truck drivers, and doctors work a certain number of hours and are then forced to rest and take time off. We can easily see why we wouldn’t want an overtired surgeon to operate on us, but why can’t we see that rest is as essential for every one of us? When you’re rested, you are more creative, productive, and able to solve complex problems. You show up energized and at your best, giving your full attention and engagement to whatever you’re doing. These are qualities we need in these difficult times.

Truly disconnect: In order to feel connected to others, we have to feel connected to ourselves first. Taking a break from others to connect with ourselves helps us recharge so we can truly serve the cause that we want to serve, and be present with the people we care about.

Focus your time: We all have the same 24 hours, and our energy is precious — we shouldn’t just let it spill out everywhere. Rest, recovery, and reflection help us get in touch with where we truly want to devote our time and energy. 

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