Ever feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or like you just don’t have enough time for your daily tasks, or that never-ending to-do list? I know I do! What may be even more challenging is prioritizing and maintaining your best health and well-being. I know the struggle is real. I am not denying that, but scheduling time to rest or (if you’re not the best planner), just make it happen when you NEED it will pay dividends for your health and well-being for the long-term. Read the following post to learn about the benefits of rest, and simple ways to incorporate more rest into your days.
Benefits of rest:
Heals your body
When we go-go-go, and do not take time to rest and slow down, our bodies don’t rest and heal. We have two main parts of our nervous systems: fight or flight (when we are always going/doing), or rest and digest (when we relax, and heal).
The amount of rest each of us requires depends on each of our individual needs. Maybe you had a crummy night of sleep, maybe you are feeling angry about something, or stressed, you may require more breaks.
Rest helps our bodies to activate their inner healing capabilities and return to a state of homeostasis, where your body can repair and recover.
Breaks- even if only for a few minutes – can offer you the refresh you need to make it through your day. At one point in time, and still in many other cultures, mid-day/afternoon naps are encouraged! I say we bring that mentality to America!
Stress is a part of everyone’s reality, but what we do with it makes all the difference. We can let it run our lives, and run our health into the ground, or we can learn how to manage it better, so that it doesn’t affect our health and well-being.
Rest allows your body to turn on the parasympathetic (rest and digest) part of your nervous system, which enables your body to heal, instead of staying in chronic, sympathetic (fight or flight) mode. When we get the chance rest, slow down and breathe, we are able to process stress from a different perspective, and therefore, manage it better.
Chronic stress leads to decreased immune system function, and all kinds of chronic health issues.
Research shows that when you rest, you are naturally more creative. Taking time to turn your brain off from your daily distractions, can allow you to break through creative blocks, and inspire creativity!
Taking time to unplug will help you to be more productive when you plug back in! When you and your brain are fatigued, they will not function to their optimal potential.
Taking one day off per week to let your brain rest and recuperate will pay off handsomely when it comes time to get back to work!
Tips on how to find that time to rest:
Learn to say no/set boundaries
We all have the same amount of hours in a day. Learning to say no, and prioritize what you REALLY want to be doing with your time/your days will help you stayed focused on what is the most important to you. All else will fall to the wayside, leaving you with more time to unplug.
If you’re a typical 20-40 something year old in today’s society, learn to set boundaries around screen time, and social media time. Unplug from social media for a week, and see how you feel!
Learn to pause and take deep breaths
If you take one thing from this article, learn to take deep breaths. Even just learning to take 5 deep breaths a day can pay dividends. I once read that the less amount of breaths you take, the longer you will live. What that means is shallow, quick (stressed) breathing will take a toll on your health and well-being.
Incorporate a bedtime routine
SLEEP is important. In order to be our absolute best, physically, mentally, and emotionally, we need to SLEEP. This is when our bodies do the most amount of repair work. If you are not sleeping, you are doing yourself and your body a disservice. Do whatever you have to do to prioritize 7-8 hours of sleep (on most nights). If you slip up now and then, that’s okay. Just hop back into the routine when you can.
Think nighttime teas, magnesium, turning off electronics shortly after the sun goes down, dimming the lights, some gentle stretching/breathing exercises.
Take a vacation/schedule time in nature
Spend 1 day per week prioritizing time in nature, or take a weeklong vacation and just unplug from all responsibilities. This can literally change your life! I was reading a book the other day, and the doctor recommended to his patient to spend three 30 minute blocks in nature per week to improve his health and longevity.
In optimal health and well-being,