The obsession with work in the last few decades has increased drastically. This can partly be attributed to the high pace of development as well as the colossal increase in materialism. Most of the people and organizations do not realize that quality rest can actually improve productivity and hence benefit the organization as well as the employees in the long run. The need of the hour is for everyone to understand that rest is not wasted time, instead it is the decline in performance due to excessive work that ends up wasting time and resources.
Benefits of Quality Rest Time
1. Enhances Your Brain Power
Your brain is the central processing unit of your body, working just like a computer, controlling everything and responding to every big or small occurrence in your body. Despite this, it also happens to be the most ignored body part and does not get the rest it needs. A rested mind is a focused mind. Numerous researches have been conducted on how the brain responds to downtime, which shows that giving your brain a break increases your focus and your cognitive abilities. Many people think that downtime means engaging in activities they like but it is a lot more than that. It requires you to not force your brain to process any information and perform tasks that do not require you to think hard. It is like turning off your PC and cleaning it with a blower so that it can perform better when you turn it back on. Real downtime activities would be something like ‘doing nothing at all’ or doing something that does not engage your mind but rather your heart, such as a walk in a park or cleaning your room. If you have a busy work schedule and Saturday is a week away then you can use your office break to just sit idle. However make sure that you don’t remind yourself of anything that disturbs you, otherwise the whole purpose of downtime will be lost.
2. Increases Creativity
Painters take a lot of time to paint their masterpiece. Constantly using a sketching pencil or a paint brush makes their hands tired, so they have to take a break in order to paint later and paint more. Imagine the load on your brain that never stops working; even in the state of rest your brain is still doing some work. It is said that Sir Isaac Newton was near an apple tree when he discovered gravity, Albert Einstein was riding his bicycle when ‘the theory of relativity’ revealed itself to him. If your mind will remain occupied all the time and keep processing so much information without a breather, how is it ever going to get the chance to be creative? Providing quality rest time to your brain will enhance your creativity and create more room for new ideas.
3. Work Smarter Not Harder
Professional life is like a vicious cycle; working from 9 to 5 every day till the weekends and then the same cycle starts all over again. Some people even work during weekends, either because they love the image of being a workaholic or they are unable to finish their work in time during workdays; the two reasons may be interlinked. Research and studies conducted on people who take a day off and those who don’t revealed that those who rested for a day were actually more productive and did not have anything pending on their desk. Many organizations in Sweden have started a work hour policy of six hours every day and have reported considerable increase in employee productivity.
4. Improved Mental & Physical Health
Sleep is a significant part of rest time. Inadequate sleep or poor quality sleep will increase the release of cortisol which is a stress hormone. Therefore, getting sufficient sleep is imperative to keep a check on your stress level. An increase in cortisol levels can also lead to reduced production of testosterone thus affecting your sex life. Increased cortisol levels also negatively affect production of growth hormone, which is necessary for repairing muscles and tissues in case of an injury. The relation between quality rest and sleep is vice versa. Without quality rest you will soon find it difficult to enjoy quality sleep, which in turn will further increase the production of these hormones. Quality rest therefore will improve your sleeping pattern, increase your physical resistance and also reduce stress thus making you more productive at work. Learn further about mental and physical recovery on Recovery Tips Blog.
5. Improved Decision Making
Meeting professional goals and targets requires a strong and committed mind. They require timely analysis of situations so that decisions can be taken in time. Taking a break from a monotonous work routine that is getting on your nerves can give your brain a fresh start and therefore a renewed ability for critical thinking and decision making. This quality rest can be a combination of small breaks from work during the day combined with downtime on weekends. A relaxed mind has more chances of making the right decision than a tired one.
6. Allows Time for Reflecting
Many lessons are learnt when looking at incidents in retrospect. Sometimes you need a vacation, not just weekends, to reflect on your past professional life, the right and wrong decisions you made, skills which are your edge and skills which can be improved. Thinking clearly and making changes in your future plans requires a free mind which is not really possible during a busy work routine. Many Asian organizations have actually made a certain amount of annual leaves mandatory for every employee. There have been studies conducted which show that this has had a positive effect on work performance.
What you aim to gain from your hard work and dedication may get lost without quality rest . Consider quality rest as a part of your work, the means of gaining what you have been working for. Various researches conducted on quality rest prove that people who make it a part of their work routine perform way better, meet deadlines and achieve goals without overburdening themselves.