Best Ways to Rest

Best Ways to Rest

20 November 2018

If you’re focused and motivated, and, if relaxing just isn’t part of your repertoire… then this article is for you!

Let’s face it, rest has a bad rap. Most of us think about rest as merely the absence of work – not something of value. We’re all busy, especially this time of year, right? We’re all working hard towards our goals, being super-efficient every spare minute of our day, constantly ticking boxes… hey look at us go! We’ve come so far and achieved so much in 2018. Can’t stop now, right?

Thing is, running on empty is doing you no favours; how can you expect to give your best when you have nothing left to give? And, thanks to our ever present smartphones, truly getting away is harder than ever. We’re updating and checking Facebook with the same degree of urgency and performance that we have in our working lives. We spend our breaks rushing from sight to sight, snapping selfies and answering emails. Truthfully now, when was the last time you closed Twitter feeling refreshed?

Sarah McLaughlin, licensed psychotherapist and certified yoga teacher in San Francisco, defines rest as ceasing work and worry, as “being rather than doing.” There’s a science – and art – to resting well. Even sleeping isn’t restful for the person who can’t rest when they’re awake. If the brain is in a constant stress-state during awake hours, then, in many cases it loses the connective pathways that tell us to stop the stress response, releasing the stress hormone, cortisol, during sleep.

Research shows that rest is as important to our long-term health as sleep. It’s when our bodies repair and grow; our brains become smarter and more creative; and our minds replenish willpower and gain emotional control.

Rest isn’t just the absence of work – it’s something we have to choose to do. We’re talking #restwithintent people!

We have a few ideas to get you started

Be intentional. Say to yourself: “I am going to rest now.” Take a few deep, long, slow breaths. Allow yourself to “be” instead of “do.”

Be fully present in those glorious out-of-the-office moments. Spend five minutes each day to feel the sun on your skin. Notice the sounds, smells and the colours around you.

Chat to your colleagues or hang out with friends. Recent studies show that social rest reduces levels of stress hormones and provides hormonal and psychological benefits. It’s vital to build this into your day. The good news is that sex also counts as social rest. Enough said.

Take a daily walk. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it is thought that walking allows the mind to relax and wander. Bonus points if you’re out in nature.

Take a nap. A NASA study found that a nap of 26 minutes could improve work performance by 38%.

Get creative. Try your hand at knitting or get your hands on an adult colouring book.

Take a hot bath, shower, pampering session, manicure, massage – whatever floats your boat.

Watch the clouds on a rainy day or have your cup of tea by the window.

For most of us our default state of being is frenetic, never-ceasing activity… tiring to the core. So, plan to rest and make it a priority every day.

Kicking back is hardly an unproductive activity, it’s a necessity.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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