Friday, September 21, 2018

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Importance of Rest

“If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days” (Kris Carr).

This is the time of year for college students where the days start to mess together and stress runs rampaged. My mind has been hazy for weeks with my workload, school, extra-curricular activities, and responsibilities for clubs. I go to work, school, and sleep. That’s it. If I was ten years younger, I would be one step away from going crazy with everything that is on my plate.

There’s a reason for my madness. This article isn’t be written at random. In the last three weeks, I lost two people I know to suicide and one of my close friends have stated that they didn’t want to suffer anymore and that they were contemplating bowing out of life.

This isn’t just stressful for the person involved. I’ve been struggling with understanding how I can help my friends and acquaintances when situations like this arise. I’m not a counselor. My only job is to help these people find resources to help them. I can suggest and advise the individual to seek help. I can be moral support, but I am not trained in crisis situations.

There is an organization called NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) that works closely with the college I go to. I have hope that this organization can educate and support my community. I get emotional every time I hear about another suicide. It’s even scarier when many of these people are college students or college-aged individuals.

There seems to be no end to situations that can cause stress.
  • School
  • Work
  • Family Life  
  • Bills
  • Your Health
  • The Car…to name a few. 

We hear about the suicides that have been happening around the world. Celebrities like Robin Williams, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Tim Bergling (Avicii), and Jonghyun, who was a member of the popular K-Pop group Shinee, have died before their time. There has to be a way to reach these people before they get to the point of no return.

I believe there are many ways we can address suicide, depression, anxiety, and stress. We can educate and offer services to communities. We can team up with NAMI and Suicide Prevention organizations. Yet, there is one thing that everyone can do, that may help alleviate some of the stress, and that is to rest.

Here are 5 reasons you should rest.

1. Energy

There is no debate that stress, anxiety, and depression wear a person out. Let’s look at a rechargeable battery. When the battery is fully charged, the electronic or toy works perfectly. Even when the electronic gets overused or when the toy hits bumps, the battery keeps the electronic and toy going. But when the battery needs to be charged because it has been used for so long, the electronic and toy will rest.

This is the same process we should be applying to our life. We can work hard and push ourselves to get things done, but there is a point where we need to step back and take a break. Without a break, our battery will run out and then we crash. Resting is when we recharge our battery. Without rest, we won’t have enough energy to get through the day and this can lead to stress, anxiety, and sadness.

2. Physical Health

Like with energy, rest helps us physically. Without adequate rest, our body shuts down. Irritation, confusion, and body aches are more common when we neglect our body’s needs. Without rest, our body works harder to do the basics. Stress, anxiety, and depression are linked to our physical health.

Look at a marathon runner. The person trains all year for the race. The person may change their diet to meet the requirements for the run (like eating more calories and protein to promote muscle growth). After running, the person needs to hydrate, eat, and rest to replenish their body. We need to do this to assist our body so we can stay physically healthy.

3. Recovery

Rest helps us recover from stressful situations. After a long week of work, resting helps our body heal. We feel better after we rest and our appetite may increase.

4. Mental Health

I’m repeating “stress, anxiety, and depression” over and over in this article for a reason. The people who have died before their time have all reported feeling stress, anxiety, and sometimes are depressed. If these factors are the most common, then there has to be a way to address these issues.

For weeks, I’ve dealt with stress and anxiety attacks. I’ve pushed myself too far and the only thing that happens when new stressors are added to my life is immense sadness. The feeling of hopelessness is real. I’m acknowledging that I need to rest and so I am working on creating a schedule that can help me accomplish sleeping at least 6-7 hours each night. This rest time should help my mental health and eventually my physical health.

5. Prevents Accidents

By this point, we all know that rest is a requirement, not a suggestion. Without rest, our body can shut down and accidents can happen. I have a history of blacking out while driving. Whenever I feel like I am not able to concentrate or that I’m too exhausted to drive, I carpool. Considering I commute two hours every day back and forth between school and home, the risk of me getting into an accident without enough rest are massive.

This post is quite dark and sad. The last three weeks have left me feeling vulnerable. I never could’ve imagined that the small community I live in would have reports of kids (some still in high school) who have ended their life. 

Life in Beijing, China

While I was in Beijing, China, my host mom, and dad would always encourage me to rest.

“Take a rest, Heather.” Or “Why don’t you rest for a bit.” I heard this every day.

I didn’t understand it right away, but after about two weeks, I really appreciated the time I was given to rest. Back home in the U.S., I’m not given the opportunity to rest halfway through the afternoon or after supper.

My host parents worked from 7-8 in the morning to 6-9 at night every day except Sunday. Without rest, they wouldn’t make it through the day. Their concentration would be flawed and they would be risking their life and others if they decided to drive. Public transportation is readily available in China, so the options for ways to get home are endless.

Even though Chinese people work longer than what I’ve seen in the U.S., they handle stress, anxiety, and depression differently. Mental health is rarely spoken about publicly or in the home. Because of this, my host parents have created their own system to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. Their solution is rest.

Take Away

Rest is a universal way to help with stress, anxiety, and depression. If you ever find yourself in a position where you feel hopeless, stressed, anxious, or depressed, seek help! You are amazing and you deserve to be happy. If you feel cornered, there are people who are here to help you. There is always hope. 

“Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life” (Andrew J. Bernstein).

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7.

NAMI Fox Valley: National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-920-954-1550

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