By Joe Kafka, governor at large, Generation Next
This article was originally published in the January 2021 edition of Generation Next Edition.
Let’s face it: if you don’t invest in yourself, everything else in life stands to falter ... including nurturing customer relationships.
Shortly after The Work Truck Show 2020, life as we know it was turned upside down. The norms of how we operate our businesses, travel, sell, enjoy our favorite hobbies, help our our kids go to school, shop, spend time with friends and family, etc., were all affected.
This definition of rest, as defined by T. Harrison in The 7 Types of Rest Your Soul and Body Needs, besides Sleeping, may resonate with most of us: “… the time period in which one replenishes one’s energy resources, both mentally and physically, to prepare one’s body to perform the next set of activities…" Simply put, to rest is to recover and prepare to attack the next day's goals. But there are other forms of rest - seven, to be exact - that can prepare you mentally and physically to become a better person, leader and employee.
We all know what physical rest is, so I won’t go into detail about that. But the second type of rest is emotional. Many of us have experienced emotional overload from adapting and balancing to life’s new struggles. This kind of stress can inhibit your brain from becoming fully efficient, thus affecting not only your daily work duties but your home life as well. To gain emotional rest, switch off your defense mode and share everything that's bothering you with someone you trust. Make it a point to unburden your emotional load at the end of each day - either by writing in a journal, self-talking, or sharing emotions with someone. Talk to a coworker, a friend, your significant other, anyone you can trust; just know you don’t have to hold the burden of life on your shoulders.
The third type of type of rest is mental. How do you know you may be mentally exhausted? According to Harrison, symptoms include indecisiveness, restlessness, lack of attentiveness and increased number of errors in work. To gain mental rest, try taking a walk outside or sitting in quiet to drain the complexities of the day.
The fourth type of rest is sensory. To me, this one is one of the most important because of how much technology is in our lives 24/7. It drains us more than you think, and can lead to a drop in physical rest due to too much blue light from our phones and laptops. If eye strain and neck tension are part of your daily life, you may be experiencing sensory overload. To get proper rest, unplug from technology. This includes television. Take 30 minutes to just sit away from all electronics; social media can wait.
The fifth type of rest is social. This type of rest is for those of us who are more competitive or overachieving. Constant competition and the drive to overachieve in our daily lives can wear us down. Those of us like this, myself included, can unwind by connecting with someone we aren’t competing with. Introverts are also prone to social strain; they can become drained through socialization and should take the time to reconnect with themselves through a solo hobby.
The sixth type of rest is creative. Have you ever gotten your best idea for a work project away from work? Creative breaks often come from creative rest and a change of scenery ... this can be obtained by simply getting away from electronics, or by listening to music, picking up a book, walking, or participating in your favorite workout.
The final type of rest is spiritual. And it can be achieved by diving deeper into yourself to reflect on the day at hand. Try writing down a positive thing that happened today, something for which you were thankful, something in which you would like to improve. You can also do the “Accountability Mirror," - a system developed by former Navy SEAL now motivational speaker David Goggins. Put sticky notes on your mirror of goals you want to accomplish (daily/weekly), look back at the mirror at the end of the day. Did you do them? The only person you are helping or hurting is the person you see in the mirror: yourself.
I hope this article helps you navigate through this new normal. You can see there is a theme on each type of rest, and it is stepping away from technology and focusing on yourelf. The only person being hurt by not focusing on your own recovery, is you. Only you have the power to recognize what you need and how to obtain it. Best of luck out there and let’s have a great start to 2021.