Rest Matters: Here Are Ways to Get More of It
Your alarm clock doesn’t go off….again!
Or if it does, you didn’t hear it. After all, you had to stay up late finishing up all the things you didn’t get around to during the day. You’re wore out, physically and mentally.
But you feel if you slow down, everything will fall apart. It’s hard to keep up sometimes. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just get away for a few minutes and get more rest?
It doesn't even have to be sleep, but the kind of rest that leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. And it doesn’t even have to be much… just a few minutes a day would be nice.
Rest matters, and is an important part of staying healthy and happy.
Studies show that not taking enough time to rest and recuperate has devastating health consequences. If you don’t get enough physical rest, you become higher risk (1) for:
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
Similarly, your brain isn’t meant to be in focus mode all day, every day. Studies show your brain uses glucose to help you maintain self-control (2). Embracing time of inactivity can help your body replenish these resources.
Benefits of Rest
When your brain is actively engaged, it uses its energy to focus and learn. When your brain is disengaged, it’s processing, clearing data, and rebooting. Alternating “on” time with “off” time can actually make you more productive, according to research (3).
It might seem contradictory, but there’s an effective technique called the Pomodoro method (4) that breaks workloads up into smaller time frames. This has been shown to help improve productivity overall.
With that in mind, what are some ways you can prioritize getting more rest?
Note that there are about 7 kinds of rest that deserve equal attention in your life. Below is an explanation of what each kind is, and ways you can get more of each.
This is probably the most popular form of rest. When you push your body to the limit, eventually it will push back. You can tell you need to rest when you start to feel tired or sick. You may even get sick.
Getting physical rest can take on two variations: active and passive. Passive physical rest is when you sleep, including a daytime nap. Active physical rest is anything that improves your physical well-being, such as stretching or exercise.
Ways to get more physical rest include making time for quality sleep (7-9 hours if possible), adding some gentle exercises like stretching or massage, and visiting whole-body health professionals like chiropractors or massage therapists.
If you’re an extrovert, you may thrive when you’re around others. By contrast, if you’re an introvert, spending too much time in crowded areas drains you. Both types will eventually be in need of a little “me time”, and it’s perfectly acceptable to get away for a social rest (5).
You may need more time than others to recharge, and that’s ok. Learning to say no, meeting friends or family at different locations, and being fully present in the moment can help you experience a nice break for your social norm.
Whether you’re studying or working, it takes a lot of brain power to create, manage, remember, and plan. Doing that all day, every day can leave you feeling drained, distracted, and overwhelmed. In times like these, it’s wise to stop and give yourself a mental rest.
Taking short breaks throughout the day can allow your brain to disconnect and decompress. If you’re able to step away from your computer or smartphone, go into a different area and take some slow, deep breaths. If you’re the journaling type, keep a notepad nearby and jot down some thoughts as they come up.
Running on empty for too long will end up leaving you disconnected, lost, and wondering what your purpose is.
Learning to abide in Love brings about spiritual rest for a weary soul (8). Joining others in an uplifting, faith-based community can bring refreshment and encouragement when you’re feeling dry.
Stressful times can bring out the worst in us. The demands of life can leave us feeling irritated, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
Learning to set boundaries can help you get the emotional rest you need. Thinking about commitments before agreeing to them, expressing your feelings to those you trust, and learning to wrestle difficult emotions can help keep your emotions from running amok.
If you keep your smartphone close by, you probably hear the occasional notification sound. If you get notifications often, it can start to create a sense of anxiety that’s distracting and overstimulating. If you don’t have this problem, bright lights, background noises, people chattering, or other things might build up to create a sensory overload.
One way you can achieve sensory rest is to turn notifications on silent, taking back roads, and investing in noise-canceling headphones. Meditation can help you block out the noise, an a sensory deprivation tank can help bring full-body relaxation (7).
If you’re in charge of coming up with good ideas, having writers or creative “block” can be the worst. Feeling uninspired can bring frustration, especially if deadlines are due.
Ways to get more creative rest can be taking a short walk outside. Nature can bring fresh outlooks and new inspirations (6). You can also glean ideas from others by checking out museums, libraries, or online forums. If all else fails, go out and have some fun! Paint, dance or make something out of molding clay. You never know what ideas it’ll spark.
Back To You
It may seem ambitious to always be on the go, not taking time to rest will eventually lead to disaster. You are a complex creation with several ways that you operate, and it’s important to get rest in each of these unique areas.
If it seems impossible to set aside time for each one, consider combining a few areas to maximize your resting efforts. Whatever you choose, make it a priority. You’ll be glad you did.
Know someone who could use a little more rest? Share this article with them today!
References & Disclaimers
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author