[Photo Credit; Getty Images]
Brazil | Carol Felix

Mother of little Heitor, Journalist Mayra Marques values ​​moments of rest. "Rest has always been important for my physical, mental and spiritual well-being. When I can't prioritize it, the 'side effects' of [the] lack of [rest] appear. One of them is [a] loss of concentration”, she says.

In most cases, the first few months after giving birth, challenge the mother's physical and emotional balance. Full dedication to the basic needs of the new member of the family reduces the moments of rest and even leads to sleep deprivation, which can lead to deprivation in other areas as well. Therefore, the young Mayra had to find her own way to regain her life balance and productivity.

“I had to reorganize myself to maintain a healthy rhythm of rest with my son. Today, with him being seven months old, my rest has improved a lot, and it continues to be even better, because if that fails, [my] physical, mental and spiritual health is compromised”, explains the young woman. She also says that she sets apart the Sabbath each week to connect with God and with her family.

Mayra is right to be concerned. Sleep deprivation of rest can cause changes in the brain and, consequently, can lead to mental disorders. According to Dr. Rosana Alves, a “lack of sleep is related to a decrease in life expectancy and quality of life. Anxiety, depression and even Alzheimer's can be some of the damages [resulting from a] lack of rest”, explains the researcher, who has three postdocs in Neuroscience.

More than just time to rest, it is necessary to pay attention to our physical, mental and spiritual needs. “We are integral beings. If a problem manifests itself physically, we need to look at our emotional and spiritual issues. An example of this cycle is in children who have had their basic needs neglected, or who had to take care of themselves and their siblings for food, shelter and security, all without adult supervision. Insomnia becomes a constant throughout their life from the need to remain alert. That is, if we only consider the lack of sleep, we will not find all the answers. Also, if the individual does not learn to trust God, the cycle will [never end]”, contextualizes the scientist.

This year, Dr. Rosana launched a series of meditations that address different aspects of rest. The initiative meets the needs presented by the public that consumes the content produced by it. The videos are free and available on her YouTube channel: youtube.com/drarosanaalves

Discover seven steps to maximize your weekly rest:

  1. Establish a routine with scheduled days and times. List your activities and be consistent when distributing them throughout the day. Ask yourself: “Will I be able to go to the market, to the bank and answer all pending emails just in the morning?” Probably not. Then, distribute these activities throughout your day and, even throughout the other days of the week.
  2. Handle the most difficult tasks first. After listing the things that need to be done each week, prioritize them in order of difficulty. Don't leave the most complex tasks for the end of the week. Start with the hardest ones and ease up towards the end of the week.
  3. Cross things off the list. Few things are as pleasurable as crossing off the activities that you have done off of your checklist . View the day, week, month and year. This helps to better deal with the unforeseen and reduces the anxiety generated by the desire to complete activities.
  4. Include rest as a daily commitment. Small breaks during a busy day can make you more productive and also prepare your mind for a weekly break. When you sit down to do an activity that requires concentration, such as reading and writing, rest 5 minutes for every 25 minutes of activity. This time management technique is called the Pomodoro. It can also be used to determine a specific time to complete a certain activity.
  5. Disconnect. For an effective rest, it is not enough to just throw yourself on the sofa; you need to disconnect, especially from electronics. Scrolling through social media before bed can harm your sleep, and the quality of it is an important part of rest. Take care of your sleep hygiene, turning off electronics a few hours before bed, dimming the lights, lowering your tone with children. These steps are warning the brain that it is time to turn off.
  6. Include the whole family in this initiative. Talk about the importance of each one committing to do their part so that family rest is possible. By dividing the tasks there is no overhead. The benefits of this go beyond an organized home: children learn that they have an important role within the family, increasing their sense of usefulness and belonging.
  7. Observe the Biblical Sabbath. Who knows the equipment better: the manufacturer or the consumer? Of course, whoever created it knows best how it works. That's why our Creator established a day a week for you and I to take a break. This day is the Sabbath, which runs from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. Follow the previous steps to enjoy this day with your family.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site.