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Revive, recharge, and relax in sync with your ultradian rhythm

6 tips to recharging your body and mind


With my last post’s slight cliffhanger, let’s talk about rest and relaxation before we move on. I sure could use a break after taking a trip down memory lane! Rest played a big part in my last chapter – remember sleeping pills and their siren call to elusive sleep? Oddly enough, they did not deliver on their promise and eventually life took a turn…But that is for my next post when I take you on the next leg of our journey through my story.


Selfcare is huge, and even though much is written, blogged, and recorded about it, it still remains elusive to many of us. We look at our lives: back in time to a nice and at times long career and work history, we examine the present and stare down the melee of responsibilities, appointments, obligations, and things we want to do (or at one time had firm plans to eventually do…some day).


But in this life which we have created for ourselves, whether we love what we do or we feel quite the opposite, there comes a time when the realization sets in of how little time is spent on actually resting and recharging. Instead, most of us have days that are busy with work, juggling relationships, and keeping up with our hobbies. Sometimes we just crash at the end of the day, only to do it all over again the next day.


As someone who is always on the go, I know how hard it can be to fit in rest and relaxation into our daily routines. But, my dear reader, in this interlude post, I want to share some helpful tips on how to incorporate rest into your life without having to make big changes (at least not right away😉).


Our bodies follow two natural rhythms for sleep and rest: a circadian and an ultradian rhythm, both of which can be supported by daily routines. Circadian rhythms are your internal clocks that coincide with the 24-hour cycle as the earth rotates around the sun. Your daily rhythm so to speak! Think of your sleep-wake-cycle as the easiest example. Others would include cycles of certain hormones such as cortisol, your body’s natural stress hormone. Ultradian rhythms are wake-rest cycles that occur in 80- to 120-minute cycles throughout the day and night. In fact, they are very similar to the sleep cycle and can refresh you like mini-naps would – while you’re awake!


As a new Institute for Integrative Nutrition IIN Ambassador, I am excited to share the following tips with you:


1. Make Rest a Priority:

The first step to incorporating rest into your busy day is to make it a priority. Yes, work and other commitments are important, but so is your health and well-being. Schedule rest like you would at any other meeting or appointment. Put it on your calendar, set a reminder on your phone, and commit to it. Whether it's taking a power nap, going for a short walk, or taking a break to meditate - make sure you give yourself permission to rest guilt-free. Experiment with the timing so you can find the best rhythm that works for you.


2. Optimize Your Environment:

Your environment plays a big role in how well you rest. Make sure the space in which you rest and recharge is comfortable and conducive to relaxation. If you're working from home, try to physically or at least visually set apart the space in which

you rest from the one in which you work. Create a relaxing ambiance with aromatherapy (if you like scents), soft lighting, and calming music. If you're at the office, invest in a comfortable chair and some noise-canceling headphones to drown out distractions for short mental breaks. A few small changes to your environment can make a big difference in your ability to rest and recharge.


3. Set Boundaries:

In a world where we're constantly plugged in, it's important to set boundaries for ourselves. Try to limit screen time before bed, and don't check your work email after a certain time. Just like you designate your workspace, so should you designate a timeframe within which you focus on work. This draws a psychological line between work and your down time. If you do find yourself working late, set a timer for regular breaks so you don't overextend yourself. Setting boundaries can be tough, but it's integral to getting the rest you need to stay sharp and focused. In keeping with the ultradian rhythm, plan on being productive within the 80- 120-minute time frame (your individual rhythm may vary, and you might find variations throughout the day too), then take a break of up to 20 minutes to recharge.


4. Learn to say "No":

As a busy person, it's easy to say yes to everything and everyone. Believe me, I know, and I have been there where I found myself totally overscheduled! However, saying no is a powerful tool for getting the rest you need. If you find yourself overextended or feeling burnt out, learn to say no to additional commitments. Prioritize your mental health and know that it's okay to take a step back when you need to.


5. Find small moments of rest throughout your day:

Rest doesn't have to be a big undertaking. Finding small moments of rest throughout your day can be just as effective at helping you recharge. Take a few deep breaths or try some light stretching when you're feeling tense. Any activity that helps you slow down and reconnect with yourself can be a moment of rest. You may take a walk in nature or simply go outside for a bit to catch some fresh air. This is a great way to clear your thoughts and refocus. If going outside is not possible, you may even switch to an activity that is not mentally challenging and only requires some light physical activity. I remember the insane amount of cleaning I would do during exam preps!


6. Listen to your body:

When you need a break, your body will send you signals with which you may be quite familiar already: drifting focus, fidgeting, impatience, achy muscles and back, yawning and fatigue, eyelids drooping (did you use matches to hold them open, like I did?), feeling hot or cold more than when you are rested (wrap yourself in 5 blankets when overtired, anyone?), to name just a few.


Getting enough rest can be a challenge when you're constantly busy. But giving your body and mind what they need to recharge is vital so you can keep up with the life you have built or are still building. You will reduce your risk for burnout, and also take advantage of the benefits rest and relaxation have on the aging process – from better brain health and memory to happier joints to name just two (plus you may find more energy to exercise! Read my post here on exercise.)


I hope these tips will help you feel more rested and energized. Take a deep breath and commit to making rest a part of your busy day. Your future self will thank you for it! And don’t forget our 7 basic steps of self-compassion and successful transformation.


See you soon,


XOXO from Katharina 😊


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