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[Weekender] Do we feel well-rested?By Shin Ji-hye
Published : July 30, 2022 - 16:01
Feeling fatigued, she spends all day lying down, looking at her smartphone, although this does not make her feel refreshed. She often tries to make her days feel productive by attending exhibitions, exploring new sports activities and meeting new people in social clubs. She feels more tired on Mondays. “I feel like stress and fatigue constantly accumulate without being relieved, but I don‘t know how to be well-rested.”
Kwon is not the only one who struggles with tiredness.
“Diligence and hard work have been important motivations for Koreans since the Saemaul Undong began in the 1970s and in the process of industrialization,” said Ha Ji-Hyun, a psychiatrist and professor at Konkuk University’s Medical Center in Seoul.
The Saemaul Undong was a political initiative launched on April 22, 1970, by South Korean president Park Chung-hee to modernize the rural South Korean economy.
“Recently, antipathy towards hard work and interest in rest are increasing centering on the MZ generation, who have not experienced poverty. But rest is still unfamiliar to many Koreans who tend to think it undermines their competitiveness,” Ha said. MZ is a pairing of two groups -- Millennials (born 1981-1995) and Generation Z (born 1996-2005).
“Even on weekends, they try to do something efficient and productive, sometimes making them more tired. Otherwise, they feel guilty,” the psychiatrist said.
It is “vital” for people to find their way to relax, said Jeon Hong-jin, an assistant professor at Samsung Medical Center specializing in depression and mood disorders.
“If you‘ve experienced relaxing your body muscles, stabilizing your heart and simplifying your thoughts when you’ve done something, that‘s your way to relax,” he said. “If you fail to find this, stress accumulates and eventually leads to depression, insomnia, and anxiety.”
In “A book for very sensitive people,” he said it is better for you to find something entirely different from your job.
For example, if you are a housewife, it is better not to do it at home, and if you are an office worker, it is better not to do something similar to your job. It is better to use the brain that is not used commonly and the muscles that are not used every day, he said in his book.
“As for people sitting in the office all day and doing paperwork, the internet or online games do not make them feel relaxed,” he said. He instead suggested riding a bicycle for 30 minutes. “This would be more appropriate for people who usually sit down and use their brains.”
According to “The Art of Rest” by Claudia Hammond, which surveyed 18,000 people from 135 countries, “reading” was what people find the most restful.
It was followed by spending time in nature, being on your own, listening to music, doing nothing much, taking a walk, having a bath, daydreaming, watching TV and mindfulness.
Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis from the University of Sussex showed that reading for just six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by 68 percent, compared to listening to music (61 percent) or going for a walk (42 percent).
It is good to refer to these statistics, but it is more important to find the right way to rest according to people‘s tendencies, Professor Jeon said.
Multiple psychology experts, including Jeon, recommend meditation to relax tension and stress.
Tension-relieving training is helpful if you are constantly exposed to tension and have chronic anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorder, Jeon said in the book.
According to Park Jin-young, a psychology columnist who researches at the University of North Carolina, what is more important than taking a rest is not to work until your body is tired.
“We tend to work unconsciously until our bodies are exhausted although we have already achieved our daily goals. It is necessary to check if you push yourself too hard habitually.”
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