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Amira McLaughlin

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Imagine your daily life like a bucket – the kind with a nice handle makes it easy to carry things around. Inside your bucket, you carry your energy so you can do all the things that must get done in a day. As you go about the day making decisions, helping others, doing your work, running errands, and all the other commitments unique to your life, you pour out a little bit of energy. Over the day, your bucket diminishes until eventually, it’s dry. Once the bucket is dry, there isn’t any more energy left to give to self-care and loved ones. Trying to pull energy from an empty bucket is frustrating and useless. You can’t give what you don’t have. The bucket must have something in it to pour out.

Exertion and rest go hand-in-hand. Resting isn’t a one-and-done situation. It’s an ongoing activity that refills the bucket so you can pour more out. Many people don’t give rest priority when they plan out their days or their weeks. They neglect to see that rest remedies exertion and forget to integrate it into their schedule, which can lead to:

  • Burnout
  • Illness
  • Injury
  • Mental health issues

Newton’s third law of motion states for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. This physics law also applies to exertion and rest. For every bit of action – physical, mental, and spiritual – there must be an opposite activity that restores the spent energy, or the natural reaction is simply exhaustion. Taking the time to rejuvenate and refresh your mind, body, or spirit will ensure your bucket stays filled.  

Here are some easy steps you can take to ensure you get the proper rest after a typical day of exertion.

Step 1: Pre-plan your day. Pre-planning your day can make it easier to keep your energy up as you go along. Make a mental or literal note of your day’s activities and build rest and other rejuvenating actions into your schedule. Items might include: 

  • Packing nutritious meals and snacks to keep your energy up
  • Taking 10-minute walks or mental breaks if you’ll be sitting a lot
  • Reducing toxins – noise, odors, lights – whenever possible
  • Drinking plenty of water

Step 2: Quiet time. Whether you leave the radio off during your commute or you decompress after you get home for 20 minutes, quiet time will make it easier to refresh yourself and rejuvenate after a busy day of being social. 

Step 3: Meaningful rest. Your rest should reflect the type and amount of exertion put out. If you run a marathon, ample amounts of sedentary rest and high-quality protein are undoubtedly the most meaningful forms of restoration. If you’ve engaged in a high-powered negotiation, some uninterrupted time reading, doing art, or walking in quiet will help restore your mind. 

Exertion and rest go hand in hand. You’ve got to find the rhythm of filling the bucket and pouring it out to make the work/rest cycle more efficient.

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