Sustainability Tip: 6 things you need to recover from every day 

By Gillian Ramirez, Alliance Intern from the University of California, San Diego

Swept up in our busy lives, it is hard to step away from responsibilities and take a break when needed. Spreading ourselves thin inevitably leads to burnout. Trying to manage our lives juggling between tasks is unsustainable and is unlikely to allow us to live a meaningful life because we are caught up in managing all our liabilities. The journey to accomplishing our goals should be cherished. To be more empowered and engaged in our commitments, here are 6 areas of life we need to “recover” from on a daily basis, as philosopher Benjamin Hardy describes them:

  1. Work: Mentally detaching from work and not thinking about it requires setting boundaries which are essential for psychological and physical health. Those who can do it experience greater marital satisfaction, mental health, work-life balance, engagement at work, and less work-related fatigue. Learn about technology, food and other ways of recovering…
  2. Technology: Being constantly plugged in and connected leads to a phone or screen addiction, causing withdrawals, impulsive behavior, decreased sleep quality, and increased stress. Individuals who stopped staring at screens a couple hours before bed were more enthusiastic to accomplish working tasks and had better sleep quality.
  3. People: Scheduling alone time each day, like a long walk or drive, can be highly beneficial to have time to think, reflect, ponder and plan. 
  4. Food: Fasting from food on a weekly basis a minimum 18 to 24 hours allows the body to repair and rebuild instead of putting energy towards digesting. Cravings for caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol have been shown to decrease due to the chemical reactions in the brain which reduce anxiety and increase happiness. Other benefits include improved sleep quality, stabilized emotions, and improved focus.
  5. Fitness: Quality sleep and recovery time are as important as effective, intense exercise. The quality of workouts are more important than lengthy workouts. 
  6. Being awake: “More than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month.” Consistently sleeping a healthy amount results in improved attention, memory, lowered stress, decreased risk of depression, and reduced inflammation.

Granting ourselves the time and space to recover allows us to be more present in our daily lives and to prioritize what means the most to us.

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