Living in an overstimulated society such as London, rest has become more elusive, and yet more important, than ever. Most of the people I work with believe that rest is a thing we earn or treat ourselves to. The thought of taking a minute to ‘do nothing’ an indulgent waste of time.
And perhaps you’re reading this thinking about the bills you have to pay, or the job you have to do, and the school run to pick up the kids, and the weekly food shop and the million and one other tasks on your to-do list wondering what, if anything, I might suggest that you can do to create time for rest.
You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.
It is well known that we can only run on adrenaline for a limited amount of time before we crash and burn. The mind and body are intrinsically connected so rushing around a hundred miles an hour without a moment to pause is exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. Investing in the time (and yourself!) to rest and recuperate could do wonders for your day-to-day life.
I’ve spoken a lot about the benefits and power of sleep but rest is so much more than just getting a good shut eye. Rest is essential to the development of mind and body. With appropriate rest our brain learns more effectively and our muscles grow stronger. Pushing ourselves to the limit, which it seems we all have a tendency to do, manifests physically through tight shoulders, jaw lock, bloating and weight gain as well as mentally with symptoms like brain fog, headaches and depression. This unnecessary stress causes chaos for our hormones which can result in long term health complications impacting the overall quality of our life.
Now, I have clients I work with, who come to me adamant that they actually have NO time for rest. And on the surface it can often look to be the case. But the truth is, we can ALL carve our five minutes in our busy day for a little bit of self care. Especially when you consider the positive consequences that will come of it. The only thing stopping you, is you. By thinking that it is worthless time, or time not deserved or listening to the voices that tell you that you have more urgent things to do first. We all do it, but these are simply excuses, ways to procrastinate because we don’t how to relax, or value ourself or the benefits of stopping.
Now this might seem a little forced but the best way to commit (initially) to your time of rest is by scheduling it in to your diary. Treat it the same way you would a meeting with your boss, or a doctor’s appointment or brunch with the parents. Non-negotiable. It’s time to start looking after your body with respect because when you do, you’ll notice the difference in how you feel. And remember, self care doesn’t need to take up an hour of your day, it can be as little as 1 or 2 minutes of calm to allow the body to recharge on a cellular level.
Ideas to Bring More Rest into Your Life
Daily meditation practice (can be as short as 2 minutes)
Breathing exercises (especially good a night time)
Gentle stretching and restorative exercise
Being in nature
Tea with a friend
Massages and acupuncture
Be confident to say “NO” when you’re feeling tired or burnt out
Lighting a candle
The most important thing, is learning to listen to your body, so that you wake up and recognise that your body is feeling a little tired and needs some extra loving. The body is far more intelligent than we give it credit for. And remember, rest can simply be a few conscious, deep breaths.
How are you going to rest today?
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