As you strive for wellness in your life, it might be helpful to understand the idea of holistic wellness. This includes aspects of your life beyond nutrition and exercise, such as rest and sleep. At the IAWP, we call this concept Wellness 360 and we believe that it’s the only way to create lasting wellness in our lives.
Generally, it’s really hard to improve your physical wellness for life when other parts of your 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 yourself craving comfort foods more often and even binging. This makes it really hard to improve your nutrition. But if you can find a new way to view work or make a change that allows you to love what you do, working on your nutrition will become much easier and lasting.
Rest and Sleep
One of the elements in the Wellness 360 wheel that is very important is Rest. Discussing rest is crucial when it comes to wellness for many reasons. It’s a cornerstone issue for many.
The first reason it’s so important is that rest and sleep affect us on so many levels. When we initially think of rest, we tend to think of sleep. And sleep is one of the biggest health challenges that people in our culture face today.
Rest as a Wellness 360 element encompasses more than sleep, of course. The overall American and western 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. But we’ve lost our value for rest in our culture. Our quality and quantity of rest have decreased, causing many problems ranging from minor health issues to major challenges.
Let’s dive in deeper into this super important element of Wellness 360 Rest.
Wellness 360 Rest
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. Those who suffer from insomnia and ongoing sleep issues feel this the most acutely.
When you’re sleeping well most nights, you’re able to get more done and feel more vibrant during the day. But when you’re having issues getting enough quality sleep every night, you’re going to really struggle to get through your days. We all know what it’s like to try to make it through a day without enough sleep. It’s pretty awful!
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 laying 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 the Wellness 360 wheel.
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 partner, it might be really hard to sleep at night. Lots of elements can be making it hard to go to sleep and to stay asleep. They can also make us feel less motivated to engage in self-care, right during a time when we might need it most.
So go take a look at the Wellness 360 wheel and think about how the other elements on there might be pushing your element of Rest out of balance. Do you need to work on your nutrition and cut back on caffeine? Is there a relationship you need to work on to bring you more peace of mind? What parts of your life could use some attention?
IAWP Student Feature
Laura Albers, IAWP Certified Wellness Coach says that she practices seven different types of self-care, including emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, social, professional and financial and they all play an important part in the element of Rest. You can read more about her philosophy in this article she was interviewed for on self-care.
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. When working with Wellness Coaching clients, it’s crucial to discuss their rest and sleep patterns. This will help you support them in achieving their wellness goals. They’ll also feel much better in the short term and the long term.
Feeling called to help others achieve better health? Find out why the IAWP’s program is unique in the Health and Wellness Coaching education field and learn about how our support and systems can help you start a new career quickly.