We’ve all heard the saying before, “there’s no rest for the wicked”, and there have even been multiple songs over the years with the title, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” (thanks Bon-Jovi!). For years society has trained us to believe that taking time to rest is a weakness and that the only way to progress or to be successful in life is to go, go, go and jam-pack as much as we can into our days - work, kids, work, family, work, gym, work, friends - it’s exhausting just thinking about it all!
Today we want to rip apart the myth that rest is considered self-indulgent and actually discuss the importance of incorporating rest into our daily lives. We know with life's commitments it can be challenging to find some downtime for ourselves, but the benefits that even a few minutes a day can have on our physical and mental health & well-being are obvious. Some of these benefits include: -
- Helps us to de-stress
- Boosts creativity
- Improves energy and productivity
- Clears the mind
- Heals and maintains physical health
Resting enables us to refresh and recharge whilst reconnecting our mind and body, therefore allowing us to be more present in our relationships, at work, and in our day-to-day lives.
So what are some simple, easy steps we can take to unwind and bring more rest into our lives?
Read our 7 top tips below.
Introducing a meditation practice into your day can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mental well-being. Not only does meditating help to clear the mind, but it’s also a great tool for manifesting and visualisation. A lot of people will say, “I don’t have time to meditate”, but you truly only need 5 minutes, to sit, breathe and slow down. This can be done at any time of the day, but we prefer finding some time to meditate first thing in the morning. This not only sets you up for the day ahead but allows you to tap into some high vibrational feelings which will help attract more positivity and happiness into your life. If you are new to meditation, there are some great apps that offer guided meditations without having to pay a subscription or fee (we love Insight Timer). You can even find guided meditations that are tailored for night-time, which can help you unwind after a long day.
2. PRACTICING GRATITUDE
Writing a daily gratitude list can be extremely calming for the mind and soul as it allows us to focus on more positive thoughts than negative ones. Often when we are feeling stressed it can be hard to switch our minds off from what is troubling us - work deadlines, managing kids, what to cook for dinner! - but taking the time to slow down and focus our energy on what we are grateful for, can actually bring more happiness and positive vibes into our lives. Each night before you go to sleep, make a list of the things you are grateful for from your day, or any good things that happened. This may seem hard when you are feeling burnt out or stressed, but if you really break it down to the simple things, you will see that there’s a lot in our lives that we can feel good about - things like your morning coffee, fresh air, sunshine, conversations with friends, time with your kids, nutritious food. As life coach Tony Robbins says, “where your focus goes, energy flows”, so choose to focus on what you can be grateful for and see more of that energy appear in your life.
3. UNPLUG & SWITCH OFF
Sadly, we are in a world where people are relying on gadgets and electronics way too much! Social interactions, online shopping (ok, guilty!), even dating - what we can do on our phones today is insane. Whilst our phones do make life easier in many ways, they can be an addiction and are detrimental to our mental and even physical health & well-being. Just like their battery, being on our phones or electronic devices constantly can leave our own personal batteries feeling flat and drained. It is super important to switch off, and set parameters for electronic usage, to allow ourselves to rest and recharge. Set an alarm an hour before bedtime and use this as your reminder that it’s time to power down all devices - this includes phones, laptops, tablets, TVs, everything! Invest in a proper alarm clock also, that way you can keep your phone out of the bedroom (charge it elsewhere in the house), as the light from late-night messages or email alerts can interrupt sleep.
4. PRIORITISE SELF-CARE
Finding time for yourself is a challenge, yes, but we also need to be mindful that we are prioritising time to reset and recharge. If you have children, finding even 5 minutes for yourself can seem impossible, but this doesn’t have to be a daily thing, instead, it could be some time that you treat yourself with weekly or even monthly. This could be winding down at the end of a busy work week with a candlelit bath, booking in for that long overdue massage appointment, treating yourself to a weekly skincare mask, or curling up on the couch for the afternoon with a book. Prioritising self-care means also not over committing to social engagements and learning to say no if your mind and body are screaming at you to rest! If you would rather stay at home in your trackies, a glass of wine in hand, with the girls from Sex and the City, or your favourite footy team (sounds like a perfect night to us!), then allow yourself to do that without feeling the guilts.
5. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
An obvious one, but there really is no better way of resting than getting a good night’s sleep. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, most adults need roughly 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function properly and feel refreshed the next day. When we are stressed and our minds are working overtime, sleeping can be a challenge and we can find ourselves tossing and turning for hours on end. There are many steps you can take to help you drift off to dreamland with ease, these include -
- Reduce caffeine/alcohol/water before bed
- Create a sleep haven in your room with comfy bedding, soothing scented candles/essential oils
- Limit the light and noise in the room
- No electronics before bed
6. GET OUT INTO NATURE
Mother Nature has a way of rejuvenating the soul and taking the time to get out of the office on your lunch break, or going for a weekend walk with friends, can do wonders when it comes to relaxing the mind and body. Getting some fresh air and vitamin D can help lift our spirits when we are feeling anxious or stressed, and even just sitting for a few minutes and being mindful of our surroundings (yes, stay off the phones!) can help us reset and calm us. You might like to sit and observe the movement of the trees in the breeze, close your eyes and practice some mindful breathing, or go for a beach walk and allow your senses to notice the sounds and smells of the ocean - whatever you choose, ensure you are 100% present, so that Mother Nature can sprinkle her magic over you!
When we have a lot on our minds, it can add stress to our bodies and leave us feeling exhausted. A great tool to help clear some space is journaling, as it can be extremely therapeutic and calming for the mind and soul. Putting our thoughts down on paper helps to get them out of our heads and create room for other, more positive energy. You don’t have to be a great writer to journal either, you can literally sit with pen in hand and free-write whatever thoughts come out of your mind, onto the page. It will surprise you how just by getting them out of your body, it will allow you to feel more rested and de-stressed.
What are your favourite ways to rest? Share them below.