RESILIENCE IN THE MIDST OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS: Rest & Resilience

This is the fifth piece in an ongoing series on topics relating to how we cope personally and collectively in the midst of this health crisis. For questions, topic suggestions, resources, or other, please feel free to reach me at rb@reneebranson.blog

I will also be holding a FB Live each day that I post an update around 3pm EST on my Resilient.Bounty page. This will be a brief 10-15 minute opportunity to discuss the issue, connect with others, and get support. 

Rest and Resilience

Sleep and rest are some of the best things that we can do to increase both our physical and emotional resilience. When we are not well rested, we are less able to reason and problem solve. We are more likely to be short-tempered, pessimistic. We are more likely to engage in unhealthy coping behaviors. Also, with lack of proper rest, our bodies immune system is compromised and we are more prone to illness and infection. While meetings and travel have been cancelled, freeing up large amounts of time in our calendar, this does not necessarily translate into more ability to rest; our anxious minds can make sleep very difficult. Below are some tips for you to follow and share with your team on getting adequate rest during this time. 

Routine & Boundaries

Creating a work-from-home routine is new for many people during this time of social distancing. It can be easy to let the time of work bleed into the time for rest. To the best of your ability, set a routine and stick to it. Make sure that you allow for transition and wind-down time between work and when you officially go to bed. On the flip side, be careful not to nap too much during unstructured parts of the day as it can make sleep in the evening challenging. I won’t say don’t nap, because short 20-minute naps (or other rest) can be very restorative especially during times of acute stress. 

Transition Into Rest

About an hour (or even more) before bed, start to shift into a more restful mode. Turn off the news—and TV, in general. Play music, dim unnecessary lights, and limit use of electronic devices. Keep in mind that while people sometimes have a glass of wine or a cocktail to “unwind,” alcohol can interfere with deep, restful sleep. This is a time to be particularly aware of alcohol intake. Try using a mindfulness practice, take a warm bath or shower, or whatever helps to bring you a sense of calm and ease. 

In Bed, Wide Awake…Now What?

As counter-intuitive as it might seem, stop trying to fall asleep. Instead, 

  • Lay down with the intention of letting your mind and your body rest. 
  • Focus on relaxing your muscles and allow yourself to sink into your bed. If this feels particularly hard to do, go from head to toe first flexing and tightening your muscles, then releasing them. 
  • Use mindfulness and breathing techniques to quite your mind. There are several apps that can help with this including Calm, Headspace, and Slumber.
  • Listen to white noise or other soothing sounds to drown out other disruptive sounds. Rhythmic or repetitive sounds such as ocean waves can also help with mindfulness as they provide a focus to keep the mind from wandering to worries.
  • Enjoy sleep stories. This was a relatively new discovery for me. Apps like the ones mentioned above have sleep stories that are read aloud by different readers. The sound of the reader’s voice, combined with a story that often includes guided visualization or peaceful narrative helps to distract the busy mind and lull it to sleep. 

I hope that you continue to rest and be rejuvenated during this time. Be well. Stay resilient.  

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