Publicador de contenidos

Back to 23_07_19_eyp_opi_descanso

The importance of rest for mental health


Published in

El Dia, Diario Montañés and Diario de Navarra

María Contreras

Lecturer at the School of Education and Psychology

I am Alicia and I am 36 years old, I come to enquiry because I can't take it anymore, I feel sad and I notice that I have run out of energy. I am irritable and jump at the slightest. My neck and back hurt, my knees are destroyed. Every day I have to deal with headaches in my temples. Sometimes I feel a strong oppression in my chest that doesn't let me breathe".

Alicia's story is a very common one in psychological consultations. In this case, after performing a psychopathological assessment , it was diagnosed that Alicia was going through a mild depressive episode with medium-high levels of anxiety. When asked how she rested, she replied that she has never known how to rest. People around her have always encouraged her to stop and take a break, but she felt she couldn't until she cracked.

In our daily lives we have certain obligations and responsibilities that must be fulfilled, such as studying or going to work, raising a family... In addition, there may be concerns related to our environment, conflicts with people or everyday problems that we have to solve, such as economic, emotional or social issues. Faced with these challenges that arise in our daily lives, society sends a covert message of "we must achieve everything and we must do it well". Indirectly, this phrase creates tension and stress in our daily lives, which can lead us to a state of fatigue and tiredness, if we do not learn to rest.

Symptoms of burnout are irritability, restlessness, worry, frustration, fears, anxiety, feelings of sadness, psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, backaches, itchy skin, difficulty sleeping, loss or increase in appetite, difficulty concentrating, apathy, etc.

Daily obligations and responsibilities cannot be avoided. We have to cope with them and this can cause us daily stress. And what do we do with that stress or those emotions, such as fear, anger or stress, which can lead to burnout?

In psychology, to allude to this "giving vent to emotions", we speak of emotional regulation. This concept makes reference letter to a process that we people have to manage our own emotions. But to govern them, we first have to identify and evaluate what we feel. In this process it is necessary to develop certain emotional skills, which if not acquired lead to emotional dysregulation (ED). The ED makes reference letter to the emotional overflow as an anxiety attack, being very irritable and sad, or somatize in the form of physical pain.

Many people do not reach this overflow because they regulate themselves emotionally with unhealthy strategies: smoking, drinking alcohol, binge eating, drug use, pornography consumption or violence towards those close to them.

Currently, these behaviors are very prevalent in young people. Therefore, society needs to hear about the importance of rest as it has a direct relationship with mental health. For this reason, on the occasion of World Psychologist's Day, I propose four necessary points to have a restful rest staff : sleep: keep regular schedules, always going to bed and getting up at the same time, and sleep between 7 and 8 hours a day; food: have a healthy per diem expenses making between 4 or 5 meals a day; physical exercise: from going for a walk, doing team sports or high impact sports has great benefits in our mental health; and hobbies: from doing activities with your hands like sewing or doing a puzzle, artistic hobbies or contemplating nature.

The daily care of these four areas, dedicating also average hour to physical exercise or hobbies, are enough to refuel our "car". Finally, there are three other tips to avoid chronic exhaustion: first, dare to say "no" if you see that you can not reach what you are asked; secondly, be aware that in order to take care of others and reach your responsibilities you must first take care of yourself, do not feel guilty for doing activities that you feel like! and finally, if you feel sad, anxious or depressed by stress, ask for financial aid!

Learn to rest!