Articles & Solutions
As we are into the holidays season, it is important to realize the role of rest in our life.
Generally, it’s really hard to improve our physical wellness when other parts of our life might be under stress or unhealthy. For example, if your job is causing you to stress or you’ve lost your excitement for what you do, you might find that it is difficult to rest. But if you can find a new way to view work or make a change that allows you to love what you do, resting becomes much easier and deep.
But it also works the other way around: one of the elements that can support you to gain perspective on your life’s situation is the element of rest - a cornerstone issue for many.
REST AND SLEEP
Discussing rest is crucial when it comes to wellness. Nevertheless, the overall attitude toward rest is to try to minimize it as much as possible. We put value on getting more done, being more productive, and being more efficient - and we have lost our value for rest. Our quality and quantity of rest have decreased, causing many problems ranging from minor health issues to major challenges.
When we think of resting, we often think of sleeping. That can include going to bed at night or it might also include thinking of a midday nap. Generally, we all know that sleep affects the rest of our lives in major ways, and those who suffer from insomnia and ongoing sleep issues feel this the most acutely.
When we’re sleeping well most nights, we’re able to get more done and feel more vibrant during the day. But when we’re having issues getting enough quality sleep every night, we’re going to really struggle to get through the day.
But when we’re talking about rest, we mean more than just sleep. Rest is a bigger idea than that. It’s all about valuing our self-care practices. Rest also includes our downtime and the ways that we intentionally slow down. It’s all about taking time to enjoy a hobby, relaxing entertainment, or restful activities. Rest is about the things we can do to release stress, calm our bodies, and power down our minds for a while.
BALANCE YOUR REST ELEMENT
So you know that rest is critical to your overall well-being and wellness practice. But how do you find ways to get more quality rest? Here are some great ideas to help you find more restfulness.
1. Consider how you are sleeping.
Since a good night’s sleep is crucial to our overall practice of rest, it makes sense to start there. Everyone needs a set number of hours of sleep each night, usually between 6-9 hours. We’re all a little bit different, so the exact number of hours will individually vary. Depending on how much stress we’re juggling in our lives, our personal needs for sleep might increase or decrease, as well.
It’s important to give your sleep some attention. Do you feel like you’re getting enough quality sleep every night? Or are you getting enough sleep, but not feeling rested? Do you have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep? After a night’s rest, do you have enough energy for the day or do you always feel like you’re dragging? What kinds of things can you do to make sleep easier for you?
2. Increase the time you spend doing self-care.
Taking care of ourselves is something that is seriously minimized in our modern worlds. We’ve all got long to-do lists and we frantically rush through our days trying to get it all done. But the old adage of filling your own cup so that you can fill others’ still applies. We’re never going to feel satisfied with our lives or be able to achieve our goals if we’re running on empty.
Time is always a factor when it comes to self-care. One way to create more time is to subtract things that you don’t need to be doing and that aren’t giving you anything of value. You can also find things that you’re doing that maybe you could do some time in the future instead. Self-care is worth prioritizing, so take some time to analyze your schedule to find ways to reduce your demands. Then plug in as much self-care and rest time as you possibly can.
3. Pay attention to your energy levels.
You might be one of the lucky ones who sleep well and then wake up energized and ready to start your day. Or you might wake up dragging from the first moment your feet hit the floor. Notice your energy levels at the beginning of the day, but also pay close attention to how they change throughout the day.
Do you feel exhausted by lunchtime? Are you loading up on caffeine just to get through the day? Are you dragging all day long and then lying in bed wide awake at night? Keep a journal to keep track of your energy levels, then compare it to other activities and the food you’re eating to discover patterns and correlations.
4. Check in with other aspects of life.
Oftentimes, our quality and quantity of rest are directly affected by other aspects of our lives. If you’re struggling through a bad patch with your boss, your partner or your kid, it might be really hard to sleep at night. It is true that many parameters can be making it hard for us to go to sleep and to stay asleep. And in the same way, they can also make us feel less motivated to engage in self-care, right during a time when we might need it the most.
So go take a look and think about how other elements might be pushing your element of Rest out of balance. Is there a relationship you need to work on to bring you more peace of mind? Is there anything you need to do but you are constantly postponing because you do not know how to start? Do you need to work on your nutrition and cut back on caffeine? What parts of your life could use some attention?
GET BETTER REST AND SLEEP
Taking good care of yourself is essential to achieving wellness. This includes focusing on resting more, giving yourself better self-care, and ensuring that your sleep each night is restful. It’s crucial to think of your rest and sleep patterns. This will help you support your overall goals. You’ll also feel much better in the short term and the long term.
It’s important to note that using electronics is not a true form of self-care. Playing on your phone, watching television or engaging in social media might feel like a mental break from something else you are working on, but it’s more of a “numbing out” rather than a “tuning in” to what our body and mind needs. While using electronics might feel relaxing, it is not truly restorative.
Find here some ideas of what you can do to rest:
- Write in your journal
- Make a delicious, nutritious meal
- Take a bath with salts and essential oils
- Read a book
- Sketch, color, or paint
- Listen to music
- Listen to an audiobook
- Listen to an inspirational podcast
- Go for a walk around your neighborhood
- Take a hike in the woods
- Leisurely bike on a country road
- Take up bird watching
- Knit, crochet, cross-stitch or sew something for a friend
- Color in a coloring book made for adults
- Create dream boards with paper or on Pinterest
- Kick back and daydream
- Put together a puzzle.
- Meditate or do a guided visualization.
- Do some restorative yoga
- Go for a drive in the country
- Take up a sport that’s relaxing, like golf or swimming.
- Play an instrument in a leisurely way
- Sing a song you love
- Take a nap
- Get outside and garden
- Take care of indoor potted plants
- Do paper crafts, like cardmaking
- Write about something meaningful
- Write a poem
- Do nothing in particular
Holidays are a great opportunity to start a new pattern on rest. And after that period, you must continue including rest habits in your every day, to achieve a better balance in your life. You owe it to yourself.
Nicole Mantzikopoulou, July 2019
It is that time of the year. You are patiently waiting for the days to pass so that you can find yourself in a beautiful place and relax. Or maybe you had had the opportunity to do that already and are waiting to do it again, in the next few weeks.
Be as it may, summer is the perfect time for a pause. Not only for a mental-body recharge, but also to review what has been achieved so far in the year. Not to be ready to scold yourselves or feel stressful, but to be prepared to take action to achieve those goals that are meaningful. Remember, this is your life, the only person that you have to respond to is yourself.
So here are some good questions that can help you create awareness of where you are:
- What have I created this last 7 month, different from other years, that I am very proud for?
- What issues have I overcome or solved?
- What new empowering behaviors have I adopted?
- Who have I met, that is now playing an important role in my life?
- What is the vision of my future self, for this coming Xmas?
- What do I still need to conquer?
- What actions can I immediately take to start paving the way?
Being in a relaxing, inspiring place will help you answer these questions. And then you will feel more empowered to continue on your journey.
Nicole Mantzikopoulou, July 2019
Those who know me will say that I am a practical person, focused entirely on results - a quality that has been following me since I can remember myself. Theory is great, but things need to be applied in order to be useful and meaningful. Words and ideas bombard us every day. But what is it that really works and deserves our attention?
If you are a little like me, you would like to apply things in your life that have proven to work. You would like to know which strategies and procedures can - not maybe, but certainly - improve your daily routine when you decide to follow them. Life is short, why should we re-invent the wheel? We can pass through the steps that have already been taken and faster – if not immediately- reach essence and substantial change.
With this thought, I began to meet people who are considered by society successful, acclaimed, leaders, to see how they have achieved to reach their goals. One individual would introduced me to the next, so I created a colorfulweb with many faces and many different approaches. By composing this net, it was obvious that the principles by which these people guide their lives are not at all accidental, nor is the way they were formed. Those principles were sought - consciously or subconsciously - recognized and then used, as an unmistakable compass on their journey. This does not necessarily mean that the route was easy, but it means that it was authentic, full of true drive and focused on purpose.
You can find here below some of the common threads:
- Strength, Awareness and the Willingness to develop Self make them true fighters and leaders of life.
- They live by a lifestyle that is a mirror of their Inner Self, that is, they are true to themselves, a stance that has helped them reach- repeatedly -their higher potential.
- They believe that they can do everything, and that possibility is not the privilege of the few. As was characteristically been said:“People are strong. There are no real barriers. Whatever we want, we can”.
- Leaders are never complacent. They are looking for new experiences, new knowledge and new paths. They have placed themselves in a state of perpetual learning and self-improvement. Progress is a way of life and they are constantly looking to make themselves better.
- They are defined by a frame of thought that leads to a life where Self-Determination, Self- Sovereignty is the norm. They believe and have Confidence in themselves.
- They have a Results Oriented approach that has significant tangible fruits to display.
- Real leaders do not have a concept of Exposure, do not fear or avoid it. They are oriented to try and be challenged, to have new experiences and in this way, to learn;
- They have conquered important fields and are on their way to conquer the next.
- They are extremely happy and they emit such a nice positive energy that people feel awe and want to be close to them.
- They recognize that life is full of unexpected events; however these can be dealt with.
- They all have a deep faith in their strength to cope with difficulties. They find solutions for themselves and others.
- They have an intense desire to contribute. Their instinct have led them to understand that, through this process, they can be driven to their infinite potential.
- They know exactly what they want, they get there first with their imagination and then move constantly towards the prosperity of their goals.
- Leaders recognize that they have achieved their goal when they sense the feeling of completeness that it brings them.
Someone included in a small phrase, all the essence of his existence and his stunning attitude to life:“Simply by being here, I have it all. So I can contribute, add value and be happy”.
If you recognize these treats on yourself, you know what you are made of. Keep walking and shine your light to the rest of us.
The other day, one of my students came to visit me and gave me the great idea to include on this blog themes answering the question above, so as to help readers in coping with their everyday.
Thus, what are those things that, if we knew them at the beginnings of our lives, would have led us to a different understanding of Self and others and consequently, to different, more productive behaviors?
In every living moment, we project our beliefs. At least 85% of those are comprised of the things that we absorbed from our environment at the age of 0-8 years old. Those beliefs are now embedded within our system and had shaped the reality in which we live - and continue shaping it, every single day of our existence.
Let’s examine how this truth applies to a more practical situation: What happens during a conversation between two people?
When people talk to each other, what is really “talking” is their belief systems. In every single moment, they project what is on their mind and interpret what is happening around them as correct and proper or wrong and distressful.
If people feel like they are not in agreement, it is the particular belief system of each that is in disagreement and may lead them to feel angry, have intense disputes or even fights. It’s not that these people are difficult, wrong or mean, it is that their upbringing and experiences thus far have created a different “software” in their brain from which they operate. Nothing more and nothing else than that.
If we all were to have the same heredity, the same upbringing, and the same experiences as the next person, we would probably behave as the next person. Nevertheless, the stimuli that each of us face every day are bountiful. This suggest that two people cannot be equal - even if they are identical twins, living with the same parents, going to the same school and having the same surroundings. Their beliefs system will not be in absolute accordance.
So, here is the thought: if we know that, by default, we are not equal to each other, then why we expect to have same perspectives, opinions and behaviors? And even more, if we know that others process information differently, which dictates their specific behaviors that might differ from our own, why do we get upset, angry, sad, disappointed or frustrated?
How can you use these knowledge: in every single encounter with others, you will exchange your thoughts and they will do the same. Thus, what are they saying? Listen to it carefully. It is not that they are agreeing or opposing to what you are telling them. They are just expressing what they consciously or unconsciously believe in. If you show up with your Ego, you might get irritated. If you show up with your new knowledge, a new intent to be constructive will dictate and support your next steps.
The solution is simple: You should try to communicate with candid aim to understand the other party and build a common route that will support yours and their intent. Empathy, Acceptance, Compassion is the name of the game.
How often do you consciously apply these principles in your everyday life?
By answering that simple question you will be able to monitor the quality of your relationships today, and even more, the level of your own development and growth.
Nicole Mantzikopoulou, May 2019
In the last few years, the changes I have gone through in my life have brought interesting learnings for me. One of the more precious is that it would be meaningless, or absurd to resist adversity. That doesn’t mean that I would not try to understand or work with it, it means that I do not oppose to it to the point that I allow it to consume me until it exhausts me.
Successful people seem to bounce back from adversity faster than others. Somehow, in facing what others would call failure, they find their inner strength and become more than they were before. How quickly they recover from disappointment, difficulties, sadness or pain, can determine how readily they are to re-establish their position of confidence and well-being.
Thus, resilient individuals choose not to let difficulties delimit who they are. Quite often people define themselves by what they do and not by who they are. This is not very helpful when facing a setback. It is better to adopt and train yourself into acquiring a new stance in life, that will support you face the challenges that may arise.
Here are four steps that you can apply to lead yourself out of any challenging situation:
- . Every situation is only temporary. That goes for both extremes, good and not so good. The only thing that matters is how you behave during those instances. And if your purpose is constantly to improve and to evolve, you will need to actively seek for the learnings that those situations bring. That is where all the meaning is. And be reassured, those learnings are waiting for you in every corner.
- . Instead of closing down, becoming defensive and be worried, seek feedback, ask for help, and risk being vulnerable and authentic. This attitude in life makes every situation more manageable and accelerates the process of learning.
- . Step back, even in the moment, and see the situation from a broader perspective. That will bring clarity and new understanding. Resilient people demonstrate flexibility in a smart way, and shift through multiple vantage points, which allows them to maneuver successfully and emerge strong again.
- . Do not sit there pondering for too long. Nothing will change just by thinking. Determine a best first step and take it. That courage will propel you into action, generate new alternatives, allow you to regain traction and renew your confidence.
- Unexpected things happen in life. Situations are fluid.. Events do not have the power to swept you away, if you do not let them. Stay focused on your intent, your goals, your strengths and achievements. These will keep you moving forward and make you able to navigate through any torments.
Nicole Mantzikopoulou, March 2019