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  • Writer's pictureMartin Stepek

Tiredness and Mindfulness

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

When a person is tired what are they to do? The most obvious thing is, rest. Do nothing for a while until you feel less tired.

We can experience tiredness during any part of the day or night. We can feel it while still in bed lying awake before we get up in the morning. We can feel it on the way to or from work. We can feel it on our own, and we can feel it in meetings, when with family, or out for dinner or a concert with friends.

But what do we do when we’re tired? We soldier on. We work through our tiredness. And what does that do? It makes us more tired. Suppressed tiredness, the slowly toxic and destructive type.

Or we do something supposedly mindless, requiring no attention or conscious effort on our part. Watching television is the primary choice of distraction, though nowadays Facebook or other social media compete with TV for first place in our choice of mental distraction.

Ans we think this is rest, recuperation. But it isn’t. It’s a sneaky form of absorption of mostly junk. The junk doesn’t just slip into you and back out the other ear or eye. It sinks into you wholeheartedly like a kind of thick slime or like mental cholesterol clogging up your mental arteries and veins.

Meanwhile your poor tired body doesn’t get rest. It just gets distraction.

So how should we rest? Isn’t that such a telling question? We have to read how to rest. Rest is one of the most important and most primal responses mammals have. It should be second nature to us, but it has been displaced in that category by the things we do to distract us from our fatigue, namely television etc.

We rest by going to a quick, preferably silent place. We close our eyes. Then we let the mind gently wander where it will, but allow one part of our mind to notice which parts of the body need relaxed. And part by part we slightly adjust our body to relax these parts. And we notice what is tiring our mind, and we let go of these thoughts and states and ideas to relax the mind. Thus we rest and by resting take care of ourselves.

Absence of rest is wholly self-destructive. It is also horribly selfish because the people around us suffer the results of our tiredness. We are grumpy, tetchy, easily irritated, unpleasant, impatient, poor at listening, poor at concentration, poor at producing quality of work, poor at producing fast, effective work.

So when tired, rest. Really rest. Rest fully and truly.

And if your work doesn’t allow you to do this, quit. In your own time, after careful consideration and planning so it’s the right time for you. Quit. Do not sacrifice your quality of life for a job or a boss or an organisation that does not value you as a fully functioning human being with human needs.

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