There really isn't anything that replaces the real thing but there are strategies we can deploy to help our bodies and minds recover and restore even when those elusive Zed's are hard to capture in the usual way of a good nights sleep.
So in no particular order here is a useful list of things you can do to help regain some balance in your life. These need not be very time consuming and certainly shouldn't be a chore they can be something you slip into a part of your day when you find a few short minutes here and there. If you manage a couple or more in a day then they will all add up.
OUTDOOR TIME/TIME IN NATURE:
The restorative nature of being about side is more powerful than you think and there is research to back that up. Here's a blog I wrote about being outdoors and the powerful benefits it brings.
TIME WITH PEOPLE YOU LOVE:
The restorative nature of being with those you love cannot be underestimated.
TIME DOING WHAT YOU LOVE:
When you are doing something you love - it feels so good right?
The simple act of laughter is a stress reducer and helps bring cortisol levels down. Maximise your laugh time!
HUGS, CONNECTION & SEX:
Not as accessible depending on your family but apparently a 20s hug is the optimal duration for the happy hormone Oxycontin to kick into your system and help you feel that bit happier. Both sex and connection will have similar effects on your happy hormones.
GIVING BACK TO YOURSELF (OR ME TIME) - E.G. MASSAGE, FACIAL, READING
If you can only find one session of this in your week then that's better than none. Be kind to yourself.
MEDITATION and BREATHING EXERCISES:
We all know a good out breath is a relaxing thing but if you keep it going for a few more breaths you can actually signal your nervous system out of fight of flight and into rest and digest. This is very healing as your body breaks down in fight or flight over time but it rebuilds in rest and digest - BREATH ON!
BEING BAREFOOT ON A NATURAL SURFACE:
Connecting with the earth is a great way to find more balance in your body by receiving the negative ions from the earth. Our bodies get charged with positive ions over time and the earth has an ability to balance this for us which is restorative and good for our health. Waterfalls, the ocean/sand, forest areas are great places for this.
Vibration therapy is very clever in that is is so quick that the brain cannot process quickly enough to know what is going on. (my layman's summary) This in turn can allows tissue in the body to relax beyond what the brain is normally used to allowing perhaps due to injury or strong held beliefs around movement limitations. Get vibrating....!
You may have read my blog about sunshine in winter and vitamin D. So here is it again if not!
RESTORATIVE MOVEMENT YOU ENJOY:
You may enjoy yoga - you might like Pilates, both can be restorative. You may like Tai Chi or another eastern movement philosophy. Whatever is your thing - try one that will give you movement but at a gentle pace which will in turn return energy to the body rather than take it away.
Scientists have determined that it takes approx 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain - unless it is done with play, in which case it only takes 10 - 20 repetitions. This is why kids in the school playground each day will learn so much more through moving their bodies than any other method. Movement really is not only the best form of learning but also the best medicine.
JOUNRNALING POSITIVE EXPERIENCES:
This process of writing down things you are grateful for has been shown to improve mood, and general levels of positivity. You cannot be grumpy and sad when you are showing feelings of gratitude for this positive things in your life. Grab a pad ans tart scribbling.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS:
The selfless act of helping others or 'being in service' is one of the key elements of why we are here, I believe. If we don't help our fellow human beings in some way there may be avoid in our lives that needs filling. I always enjoyed giving presents at Christmas far more than receiving them. This can be anything on any scale. You don't have to do charity work - but it's an idea!
Living your daily routine which is best for your chronotype will place less stress on the body. This means is you are a natural lark and you lie in first thing your are going against your natural chronotype. If you are a night owl but are forced to go to bed earlier than feels right you are pushing against your natural chronotype.
If you are keen to find out what your chronotype is, why not grab an intro package get your profile set up and see the power of truly personalised health.
Credits: John Polley, Be Free