HOW CAN WE INCREASE OUR RESILIENCE?

 Have you ever tried to fix an ongoing lack of energy by getting more sleep — only to do so and still feel exhausted? 

If that’s you, here’s the secret: Sleep and rest are not the same 

We think we’ve rested because we have gotten enough sleep — but in reality, we are missing out on the other types of rest we desperately need. The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals. We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest. 

Rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of your life. 

The first type of rest we need is physical rest, which can be passive or active. Passive physical rest includes sleeping and napping, while active physical rest means restorative activities such as yoga, stretching and massage therapy that help improve the body’s circulation and flexibility. 

The second type of rest we need is sensory rest. Bright lights, computer screens, background noise and multiple conversations — whether they’re in an office or on Zoom calls — can cause our senses to feel overwhelmed. This can be countered by doing something as simple as closing your eyes for a minute in the middle of the day, as well as by intentionally unplugging from electronics at the end of every day. Intentional moments of sensory deprivation can begin to undo the damage inflicted by the over-stimulating world. 

The third type of rest is mental rest. Do you know that co-worker who starts work every day with a huge cup of coffee? Is often irritable and forgetful, and has a difficult time concentrating on work. At night sleep evades them. frequently struggling to turn off one’s brain as conversations from the day ruminate. Despite sleeping seven to eight hours, wakes up feeling never went to bed. This is a mental rest deficit. 

The good news is you don’t have to quit your job or go on vacation to fix this. Schedule short breaks to occur every two hours throughout your workday; these breaks can remind you to slow down. You might also keep a notepad by the bed to jot down any nagging thoughts that would keep you awake. 

The fourth type of rest is creative rest. Essential for anyone who must solve problems or brainstorm new ideas. Creative rest reawakens the awe and wonder inside each of us. Do you recall the first time you saw the ocean or a waterfall? Nurture nature- Allowing yourself to take in the beauty of the outdoors — even if it’s at a local park or in your backyard — provides you with creative rest. 

Creative rest isn’t simply about appreciating nature; it also includes enjoying the arts. Turn your workspace into a place of inspiration by displaying images of places you love and works of art that speak to you. You can’t spend 40 hours a week staring at blank or jumbled surroundings and expect to feel passionate about anything, much less come up with innovative ideas. 

Now let’s look at another individual — the friend whom everyone thinks is the nicest person they’ve ever met. It’s the person everyone depends on, the one you’d call if you needed a favour because even if they don’t want to do it, you know they’ll give you a reluctant “yes” rather than a truthful “no”. But when this person is alone, they feel unappreciated and like others are taking advantage of them. 

This person requires emotional rest, which means having the time and space to freely express your feelings and cut back on people pleasing. Emotional rest also requires the courage to be authentic. An emotionally rested person can answer the question “How are you today?” with a truthful “I’m not okay” — and then go on to share some hard things that otherwise go unsaid. 

If you’re in need of emotional rest, you probably have a social rest deficit too. This occurs when we fail to differentiate between those relationships that revive us from those relationships that exhaust us. Filling our “cup relates to relationships as much as “self-care” To experience more social rest, surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Even if your interactions must occur virtually, you can choose to engage more fully in them by turning on your camera and focusing on who you’re speaking to. 

The final type of rest is spiritual rest, which is the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose. To receive this, engage in something greater than yourself and add “chanting, meditation or community involvement to your daily routine. 

As you can see, sleep alone can’t restore us to the point we feel rested. We need to begin focusing on getting the right type of rest we need. 

Meditation and how it can increase our resilience. 

What is resilience and how can we increase our own capacity to be resilient. 

Being resilient doesn’t mean that a person won’t experience difficulty or distress. 

People who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives commonly experience emotional pain and stress. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress. 

Being resilient means: 

Being able to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. 

Something that can help us all as we come out of this period of lockdown and return to “Covid” normal is the practice of self-care- meditation. 

The True Definition and Benefits of Meditation 

Meditation, defined simply, means “extended thought.” It’s a practice of focusing your mind on the present moment in order to gain a clearer and calmer mental and emotional state. For some people, this means spending an hour on a cushion in complete and utter silence. For the Support Worker of a client with special needs, it could mean just 5 minutes of quiet time, or listening to a guided meditation on a blanket or yoga mat in the living room. The idea is to carve out some time without distractions to focus on something relaxing. You can do this with or without your client/ Client, although both of you can definitely benefit. Research has shown that even brief amounts of time spent on meditation can reduce stress, lift mood, relieve anxiety, reduce hyperactivity, improve attention and focus, and strengthen relationships. With so much potentially to gain, there is really nothing to lose! 

Will your client wiggle the first few rounds? Will the dog bark just when the CD gets started? Will your neighbour choose that exact moment to knock on your door to remind you of the association 

bake sale happening two weeks from Saturday? Of course! That’s why you need to set realistic expectations for your session. Here how: 

Realistic Expectations for Parent/Client Mediation 

1. Talk to Your Client Advance: Tell your client, in advance, that meditation is something you are going to do as part of your weekly routine. Just like he or she eats good food and takes vitamins for a strong body, meditation is something that they need to do for a strong mind, body and soul. 

2. Find a Quiet Spot: It can seem impossible to find a quiet spot but remember – you’re not aiming for perfection. Perhaps your bedroom, with the door shut, is the best place to avoid distraction. Maybe it’s his or her bedroom? Maybe it’s in the car under a shady tree where that dog or pesky neighbour can’t find you. The point is to find someplace where you’re least likely to be disturbed and go for it. 

3. Find a Guided Meditation: Google “mindfulness audio” and you’ll have more than your share of options to choose from. We suggest you keep it simple and find one specifically geared for the age/developmental level of your client. Those that tell stories or describe nature in vivid detail are often big hits with kids, as it sets their imaginations soaring down a fun, narrative story. Teens tend to prefer more realistic visualization exercises with relaxing music. Stress-Free Kids is a great resource for many different activities and audios. I also highly recommend the meditation app Calm. 

4. Use Essential Oil: When diffused, essential oil can add a lovely fragrance to the room. The comforting scent not only will become a familiar reminder for your client that, “Now it’s time to quiet down,” certain essential oils actually can calm your client down. Lavender, bergamot, orange, and vetiver are oils known for their soothing effect on the nervous system. 

5. Keep Your Expectations Low: Expect some bumps on your way to nirvana. The goal isn’t to meditate perfectly. There’s no such thing! The goal is to take time out of your day and just “be” with your client in a calming and positive way. While silence and total relaxation would be awesome, not losing your cool over unrealistic expectations is pretty darn awesome, too. 

6. Keep Your Perspective on Track: following on tip #5, remember that meditation is about stressing less. Don’t put more stress on yourself and your client by having an end goal in mind. Use this time as an opportunity to bond with your client and see what comes from the experience. Many support workers find that just 5-15 minutes a day increases their level of patience, understanding and overall gratitude for their client (yes, even their difficult people!). 

Start with just 5 minutes a day of quiet sitting, with or without a guided meditation audio or relaxing music. Work up to 15 minutes several times a week, in whatever way works best for you and your client, and see what benefits you notice