Are you living for the weekends because it is your only time to rest? Maybe you can feel yourself burning out, yet you are still pushing yourself until your next scheduled vacation. Both of these behaviors lead to an unhealthy relationship with rest.
In this episode, Akua walks you through the 7 different types of rest (yes, 7!) and examples of how you can practice them. As human beings, we should build rest into our daily schedules. By following Akua's strategies, looking inward, and possibly asking for help from others, getting the rest you need will be easier than you think.
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What's Covered in this Episode About Mental Rest
- How sleep and rest are different
- The 7 types of rest from Dr. Dalton-Smith
- Positive mental, physical, and spiritual effects of rest
- Akua's framework for recognizing and implementing rest into your daily schedule
Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations
- "Physical rest, she says can be both active and passive. So for us, the passive type of rest is probably very straightforward. That's you know, sleeping, taking naps. But active rest can also be restorative activities that really, you know, allow you to breathe and to you know, improve your flexibility, increased circulation." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
- "Mental rest, in my opinion, has a lot to do with becoming comfortable really sharing how you feel. I'm not saying that you should dump everything on someone if they're not ready for it. But really just recognising that you might need some emotional rest." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
- "Spiritual rest is just really being able to connect really beyond where you are right, really being able to connect beyond the physical and mental. And yeah, I feel like you have a purpose feel like you have a mission feel like you're driven beyond something bigger than yourself." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
Mentioned in Want to Make Better Decisions? Rest More
Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast
Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.
Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive.
Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit. Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.
Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:
Here’s the transcript for episode 18 about Making Better Decisions
NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah Chaos respond to Aqua. And yeah, I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time, and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive, and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that, think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to this episode of the open door conversations podcast. So today, I'm going to be talking all about vacations and taking breaks, and why it might be hard for you to do that. So I thought I would break this conversation in two basic parts. One, I really wanted to cover how taking a break or taking a vacation is more than just sleeping, right? Sleep is super important. I talk about sleep. I have some resources, actually, I think around sleep, especially on my Instagram, and I will link it below. But I was doing some research on this. And I came across a really interesting TED Talk by a doctor Delton Smith and I really wanted to share her thoughts around the seven types of rest. And I think it very much resonates with me because this is something that I try to keep in mind. So the first part of this episode, I'll be talking a bit about taking a break, and how sometimes we focus so much on oh, I need to take a vacation, it needs to be far away, it has to be six weeks, and how you can start to take a break or take a rest or take a vacation sooner rather than later. Right. And then the second thing I'm going to be talking about is how you can become aware about what might be getting in your way of taking a vacation on me sharing a really, really simple framework. I think that's really interesting. It's something that I use with my clients. Sometimes I don't explicitly share the framework. But I think it's a very interesting framework to start to think about what might be getting in your way, what challenges might be there, based on how you describe the problem. Alright, so first and foremost, let's talk a little bit about sleep and rest and how they're not the same thing. And that rest should equal restoration. And this is so important, especially as we talk about productivity, as we talk about burnout. And as we're getting closer to the holidays. So this doctor, so it's Dr. Delton Smith has this amazing TED talk. And I will make sure that I link the TED talk in the show notes. But she talks about seven different types of rest. And the first type of rest that she talks about his physical rest. And this is probably something that all of us are somewhat aware of. And physical rest, she says can be both active and passive. So for us, the passive type of rest is probably very straightforward. That's you know, sleeping, taking naps. But active rest can also be restorative activities that really, you know, allow you to breathe and to you know, improve your flexibility, increased circulation. So that can be things like massages, and yoga and stretching. So trying to think about how to incorporate that into your schedule and to your calendar sooner rather than later. And I'm hopefully giving you some ideas of things that you can put into your calendar right now. Right. So things like yoga, stretching, getting a massage, that can happen this week, you don't have to wait once a year or twice a year or in six weeks to get that that's something that you can do now, that can actually bring you some rest, right that can allow you to give yourself a break. Alright, so this second type of rest I think is so very important for us, especially since we live in a very interconnected world. We have so many different machines and computers and technology that really allow us to connect so much faster, and continue to think about things right I'm sure all of you sometimes have a hard time shutting off. And so the second type of rest is mental rest. And for me, this is something I think about every single night, actually, I try and take myself away from my computer. And so I get my mental rest by reading, right? So not using something that's super, super technological, I use a Kindle, it's pretty much like holding a book for the most part, right? There's no colours, it is a screen, but it's not flashing, right? It's super straightforward. So I'd really recommend and within this TED talk, she talks a little bit more about how you can think about adding those breaks throughout your day, right. So you can just remove yourself really from technology, give yourself an opportunity, right to, to just really, yeah, give your brain a break, right. And once again, you can do that sooner rather than later. So this third type of rest is so important, and that sensory rest. And so once again, that's really trying to give ourselves a break from technology, and more importantly, flashing lights, LED lights, lots of different conversations getting away from zoom. And I think that all of us could do with that. And so if you aren't listening to this, I hope you'll give yourself some sensory rest after listening to this podcast episode. The fourth type of rest is called Creative rest. And so this is very important for any of those high achieving leaders out there any of those founders out there, who need to have that time and space to really rejuvenate and to really recalibrate so they can be creative and solve problems. And so one of the things that she suggest is making sure that you go out into nature, and making sure that you enjoy things that are a little bit more serendipitous. I can't believe I use that word, but things like nature, things like art, things that maybe spark joy potentially, and really just recognising that it's hard for you to be you know, innovative, it's hard for you to be excited and motivated. If you're constantly sort of stuck, staring at a screen or listening to people, you know, and never really, you know, putting yourself in new environments that really will give you an opportunity to use your imagination. Alright, let's talk about this next one here. And that is emotional rest, whoa, emotional rest. And that's really being able to, and I'm just going to read this off the time and space to freely express your feelings and cut back on people pleasing. And that is so interesting to me. Because we do live in a very interconnected world. We're always engaging with people, and for the most part, it's not okay to not be okay, right? So we sort of tell people like, No, I'm fine, I'm good, right? We're never really truthful about it. And so one of the things I talk a bit about, and I think I did do a podcast episode, at some point in time about this is toxic positivity. And that sort of, you know, having that face or putting on that face or feeling like you can't really express your feelings. And so I will make sure that I link to that in the show notes. But emotional rest, in my opinion, has a lot to do with becoming comfortable really sharing how you feel. I'm not saying that you should dump everything on someone if they're not ready for it. But really just recognising that you might need some emotional rest. And you might need a comfortable space to freely express yourself. And so that could be with the loved one, it can be with someone you trust, it might be with a coach, or maybe even a therapist, if that's the right situation. All right. And then last, but not least, the final type of rest is spiritual rest. And I also really love this one. And I think it's going to connect really well as I talk a little bit about this framework that you can use to start to think about what might be getting in your way of getting these types of rest or what might be getting in your way of trying to take that vacation that you so deserve. And spiritual rest is just really being able to connect really beyond where you are right, really being able to connect beyond the physical and mental. And yeah, I feel like you have a purpose feel like you have a mission feel like you're driven beyond something bigger than yourself. And that can be as simple as adding breathing exercises, meditations, according to this doctor, or maybe even prayer if that's something that resonates with you. So really just recognising there are so many different types of rest. And you don't need to wait to take a six week vacation, right? You don't need to wait to get time off from your work in order to try to incorporate some of these types of rest into your calendar into your schedule right now. Alright, so that's really the first part of what I wanted to share. So let's get into this second part. What might be showing up for you what might be stopping you from getting these types of rest or even taking that vacation that you so deserve? Why is this important? Why is getting this type of rest so important? It's important because studies have shown that taking time away from your job, whether you work from home, or you work from an office can have positive physical and mental benefits. Okay? So people who take vacations and create time for this type of rest consistently have lower stress, a better outlook on life, right? So they're more positive, have more motivation, right to actually achieve the goals that they've set and have less risk of certain types of diseases, right? So really just recognising that there are so many positive impacts, that taking a break or taking a vacation can have both on you, and ultimately, your job, right? Because if you're not alive, if you're not feeling good, it's gonna be really hard for you to show up. What are some of the things that get in our way? Or what are some of the things that we tell ourselves, we might tell ourselves that, oh, taking a break, or going on vacation, or adding this type of rest to my schedule, or my calendar means that I'm not committed, right? That might be one story, we're telling ourselves or you might be in an environment, where that's potentially the no perception that people have another perception that some people have is even maybe even if they're a founder, so even if they're at the top of the organisation, a founder or a CEO, they might say, wait, what if you know, my investors, right? Or what if my stakeholders or my board thinks I don't care about my job or thinks I don't care about you know, doing a good job here, like I need to be here, I need to show that I'm constantly involved, that might be another story that you're telling yourself. And honestly, that's not the best story. Because once again, you may not be bringing your best self, you may not be solving problems in the best way, you may not be able to connect effectively, because you are tired, right? Because you are constantly doing and trying to achieve and trying to produce and you end up burnt out and not even able to maybe show up because you end up in the hospital. So your investors are upset anyway. All right. Another thing people might tell themselves, especially if they work for themselves, or it's their own business, is that I need to do all the things in my business myself. And I don't want to be dependent on anyone. And there's no way I can build systems and processes in order to make sure that you know, things are done when I'm not around, or if I'm not here. So really just recognising that it can be a struggle, right, it really can be a struggle sometimes to take a break. And some of it might be internal. So you yourself feel like maybe I'm not worthy, I haven't worked enough, or I don't do that or can be more external. This is not the type of environment that takes breaks, right? We don't do that here. And recognising that both right of those stories, both of those pressures, both of those influences aren't helpful, because we are human beings, and we need to take a break, we need to rest we need to be able to restore ourselves. So what is one of the things or what, uh, what is one of the ways in which we can start to engage with this? How can we continue to build our awareness around it, right. And one way that we can do that is by using I think, a really interesting tool, that's called a logical level. And a logical level is one framework that is used in certain types of coaching to really help people identify how they describe the problem. And by identifying how they describe the problem. And so you sort of do it at these different levels, it allows you to really start to think about what might be getting in their way, right? What are some of the things that might be stopping them from really being able to reap the benefits of taking a vacation or taking a break? Alright, so with these logical levels, I'll tell you what they are, it's pretty straightforward. Like I said, I think it's a really interesting way to start to think about how you're showing up and how you're talking about your problems. And then ultimately, how someone like me, so how someone like a coach can potentially support you, or how you can even coach yourself out of right, some of these challenges that you might have, okay, so these are the different levels at the top, it's spirituality, right. And that's really what we're talking about, from that point of my mission, my vision, something bigger than yourself that purpose piece, and that's really, really at the top, because if you're able to connect the things that you're going to that, right, it's going to be so much easier for you to achieve those things. Okay. The second level is identity. And I think a lot of coaching is actually done at that identity level. And that's also an incredibly important level, right? So identity can really be defined in so many different ways. It can be physical things, it can be psychological things, it can be sort of your personality traits, it can be how you affiliate, right? It can be based potentially on your age, right? So people might say, oh, people of my age do this. People of you know, my perceived race do this. You know, introverts do that. People who have these types of skills, do this people within potentially my type of job do this, right. So for a lot of us, one of the things that we might say, or one of the ways in which we might show up or talk about a problem is through the identity level. Okay, another level, right? So we have spirituality at the top, we have identity, then we have beliefs, okay? And so with beliefs, these are our values. And so those are sort of the stories we tell ourselves potentially, in terms of how we show up. The next level is capability or competence, and that has more to do with knowledge. And so recognising that sometimes it's hard for us to get through a challenge or a problem, because we feel like we don't have the knowledge to so there's something to learn. All right, and then we have behaviour. And when we're typically talking about behaviour, a lot of times, it's sort of our actions and our habits. And so for so many of us, when we're trying to change things, or trying to do things in a different way, we typically start by our actions and habits. So I will change this and therefore X, Y, and Z will happen. And once again, just really recognising that that's a good starting point, that it may not be the best place for us really, to get that, that internal motivation, right, because our behaviours, and our actions are not always as connected to our purpose, right, that spirit. And so if we're able to connect it to some of these higher pieces, it's so much easier for us to actually make sure that we're building a habit, and we're building a routine that will allow us to achieve our goals. Alright, and then last, but not least, that is really the environment or the results, right. So that environment, and you know, really recognising that that is sort of that reality that we're creating for ourselves, what is the change potentially, that we really want to see, and recognising that our environment that we see ourselves in so specifically, in this case, we're talking about vacations or breaks. So we could be within an environment or a work environment or working for organisations where taking a break or resting or taking a vacation is not really seen highly. So those are the different levels. And so let's talk about this a little bit more and sort of break this down. And my hope, once again, is by listening to this, you're actually able to coach yourself through this thought process, right? Really start to build your awareness and think about what is something I can use to help reframe this or help shift this or help pivot. So I'm able to really show up in a way where I'm well rested, and I'm able to give as much as I want to give to whatever I'm doing whether that's within your personal in your professional life. So for example, this is something that you might say, and we're going to start from the bottom, right, so we're going to start from that environmental sort of situation. And so from the bottom, we might say something along the lines of I can't do this now, right? I can't do this right now, I can't take this break right now. I can't rest right now, it's too busy at work, or we're not allowed to take a vacation. So that might be sort of an environmental block that you feel that you have. Okay, that might feel like the truth for you right now that might feel like the story you're telling yourself right now. But recognising that that one may not be the best story for you to be telling yourself right now and to may not be true, right? There may be something that you can do to make sure that you're able to take that break or take that rest or take that vacation sooner rather than later. So it's then when you get really curious and start to brainstorm or get support to help you really think about what else might be possible. The second thing that you might tell yourself, right, if we're going up a level, right, starting from the bottom, bottom, and sort of going up is that behavioural level. And at that behavioural level, what you might tell yourself is, this is too difficult for me to figure out, I can't do it, right. So you don't feel like there's any habits that you can create, you don't feel like there's a routine that you could put together, there's no actions you feel like you can take in order to really figure out how to take a break sooner rather than later, or how to rest sooner rather than later. Okay. And once again, it doesn't have to be something super big, it could be just like I'm taking a one hour lunch break. And you're telling yourself, it's too difficult for me to figure out how to take a one hour lunch break, I just need to work, I just need to do that. Okay, the next level up is capability, right? And so that really has to do with that knowledge piece, right? Having that information. Having that knowledge, I don't know how to take a break or vacation, right. So that might come from you not knowing your company's policies, you're not feeling like you can remove yourself in that situation, right? I don't actually know how to do this. Because I'm such an important human being or important leader within my organisation, I don't know how to take a break or vacation me taking a break or vacation means that everything falls down, right. And once again, you can definitely learn how to do this, right? If you work with someone like me, so a coach, or you get the support, maybe at HR, it is possible for you to figure out how to take her vacation. So if you're coming at it from that level, that's something that you might see, Okay, the next level, taking a break is a weakness, I don't want to look weak. So in that case, you have a belief, right? Or the where the place where you put sort of taking a vacation or taking a break is that it's not important, or it's not something potentially that you value, and therefore the story you're telling yourself or what you say is taking a break is a weakness and I don't want to look weak, right? And once again, that's not a very constructive story for you to tell yourself that is probably something some of you listening to this might believe, okay, and just really recognising that that could be a belief that you have but you can definitely shift that or change that because feeling that taking a break or resting is a weakness is not good for you long term All right, but that's something that you need to decide that you want to shift or change this next level okay, we're going to stop here we're not going to really go to the spiritual level. I'll talk a bit about it but not need to, but not necessary go that much more into it is that identity level right and earlier on, I talked a little bit about how identity can come from so many different level wasn't when I was initially sort of putting together this podcast episode. That's really what I wanted to focus so much on, recognising that for a lot of us who are high achievers, a lot of us who are doing amazing things, a lot of us who are building businesses or even solopreneurs, or sort of, you know, primarily work for ourselves, or you know, really are hard workers, we might have created this identity, where work is pretty much everything, and we feel like we only are worth it or have any self worth if we work. So that's very much an identity thing. So really just recognising that once again, that might not be serving you. And so one of the ways it might show up, or one of the things that you might say is leaders in my position, or leaders who look like me, or women like me, and these types of you know, maybe engineering positions, don't take breaks, okay? So really just recognising that that is at the identity level. And so the key thing that you want to do there is letting yourself know reminding yourself that I am a person who takes breaks, right? I am right, a person who is worthy of rest, whether or not I've forgotten anything on my to do list or whether or not I've done everything on my to do list, right? I am right an engineer who needs mental rest and needs to take away time from my computer, right? I am an engineer, maybe who needs some sensory rest. I am, you know, a man who needs some creative rest, and I want to go out into nature and really feel good. So really just recognising, that's something that all of us could probably do a better job of. And so you know, getting a little bit more curious about the words that we're using in language that we're using can really help us think about how do I potentially need to tackle this problem, or think through this problem, or coach me through this problem. And these are some of the ideas. So ultimately, really, at the top, we have that spiritual level, right. And that spiritual level, once again, is really where you are recognising that you want to connect it to your purpose. So one of the things that I think about when it comes to taking a break or taking rest, or even having these boundaries, right, because a huge part of this is making sure you have the boundaries in place, so that you can take that break so that you can rest or you can go on that vacation is saying that, you know, are reminding yourself that, hey, you know, I want to build big things. My mission is to, you know, create these safe spaces for my clients. And so I need to make sure that I can show up and be my best self. That's actually something that I say, and I will say it too, sometimes to people who sort of call me a party pooper. And they're like, Well, you know, why aren't you coming out? Or why aren't you doing this, and I'm like, Look, you know, the work I've decided to do is bigger than myself. And I really love that. And I love being able to support others. But in order to do that, I need to make sure that I protect my schedule in a certain way, right, so that I can show up and have these podcast conversations. And I can connect with my clients and be really energetic. So to me, my ability to set my calendar in a certain way, my ability to say no, and you know, be resistant to having too many things to do is why I'm able to say no right, and why I'm able to take breaks and arrest more and sooner rather than later, right. So even in my day to day, I make sure that I show up in a certain way, because I've decided that I want to do this, right? It's my mission, it's my vision, it's really connected to my why and so I'm the type of person who takes breaks, right? I you know, you can even use it to your advantage, I'm a little bit more introverted, so I need to recoup my energy. And therefore, I have breaks within my day, at least, you know, 30 minutes, one hour between my coaching sessions, I believe, right are one of the things I value is resting, okay, I have the ability to rest because I've done research and I know, taking 15 minute breaks in between working for an hour. So that's my capability, that knowledge allows me to show up and be more effective. All right. Throughout the week, I make sure that I set my Mondays and my Fridays aside so that I don't have any external meetings, right. So that's something I do, that's a behaviour, I have a habit I have, and something I try to keep, I'm not always 100% on it, but I try to keep so that allows me to show up in that way. And then when it constantly environmental, I try to put myself in a situation where I don't have to be around a lot of other people, right, I work from home, I don't have to be around a lot of other people. So I don't feel that peer pressure to have to do things that maybe I don't want to do or maybe won't help me in the long run, right? Or won't allow me to get that rest and take that vacation in the long run. Right. So that is just one potential way to sort of look at it. One way to potentially coach yourself through thinking about how do I want to take a vacation when do I want to take a vacation the fact that you need rest sooner rather than later and that you can coach yourself through taking breaks today rather than tomorrow, all right. So the key is to address the problem at the level at which you framed it right. So have you framed it framed it at the identity level the beliefs or values level that capability are knowledge level at that behavioural level are finally at that environmental level. And once you're able to recognise that it's going to be so much easier for you to get really curious and start to think about what are some of the ways in which I can attack this, who are the resources I can use, whether it's HR, whether it's a colleague, whether you know, it's maybe somebody on your board, or whether it's a coach to really help you think a bit more about that, right. But this is really that first step and making sure that you take a real break that first step and making sure that you're incorporating rest into your daily schedule, right, not waiting till the weekend, not wait once a year, but daily schedule, is really around building your awareness around where you might have some resistance, right when walking through these logical levels might help you do that. Alright. So I just want to end with letting you know that if you want to continue this conversation, and you want some support with this, so one on one support with this, please feel free to reach out, I do have a few spaces for some additional one on one leadership coaching clients. And we can definitely get started before 2022. If this is something that you really want to master so that in 2022, you are taking rest and you're taking breaks every single day, right rather than waiting till the weekend, right or Living for the Weekend, or rather than waiting for once a year. Alright, so as always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen, I would love to hear your feedback on this conversation. Did you enjoy it? Do you like me sort of walking through these types of coaching tools and coaching frameworks and ways of thinking about how you can show up and sort of coach yourself? If so please let me know. All right, thanks again, and stay safe and say thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials so that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you. Thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode with you stay safe and sane.