Rest. It’s what we all want, but when life is busy it feels impossible. What’s worse, when we do find time for it, our bodies are so pent up with tension, our brains won’t stop! This happens when our cortisol levels are so high, our bodies stay in a seemingly permanent fight-flight response. We are always on alert, and this affects our mental and physical health, leading to illness, fatigue and depression.
Finding time for rest is crucial. To live with any sort of capacity, we need to recharge. And while everyone has different capacities, we all need a certain amount of time to pause, release, and sleep.
You’re right – sometimes this seems impossible (looking at all the caregivers of newborns and young kids out there!). So how we practice rest will change depending on our stage in life and circumstances.
How do you practice rest in your life – and how can you create space (or utilise time!) to honour yourself in the chaos of life? Here are five practical ways you can practice rest in your life. Find the ones that best suit you and try to prioritise them at least once a week.
- Watch your favourite TV show by yourself
Watching a TV show or movie that you love is a great way to unplug and let your brain ‘switch off’ for a moment. You already know the characters and the plot, so for the duration of a 20 minute sitcom (or longer!) your body and mind can rest in the proverbial security blanket of a storyline you know and love. Go ahead and treat yourself – you may even come across an episode you have missed!
- Get outside and listen to something you enjoy
Get out of the house, give yourself half an hour, and go somewhere calm – it may be by a river, the beach, on a walking trail or even around the block. Put some earbuds in, and listen to something you enjoy, be it music, an audio book or a podcast. This can double as exercise (which is also a great way to recharge the body), but your focus can stay on making time for yourself. Look around you, feel the elements on your skin, and get out of your head. This is time just for you. Before you resume your ‘everyday’ life, take some deep breaths and mentally prepare for what is next. Now you are physically and mentally ready.
- Take a nap
Do you feel exhausted? There are moments we need to push through and get the job done. But in less crucial situations, a timely nap in the middle of the day can give you the clarity to keep going. Set an alarm and nap for 10-20 minutes before you take on the next task. And if this is impossible due to your responsibilities, ask someone to help you out for a short time. There is no shame in taking a day nap. The Mayo Clinic tells us it can even increase your level of alertness and improve your mood. However, give yourself a little time after waking before you go back to fast-paced tasks. Your brain needs to switch back on!
- Sleep in
Sleeping in past your normal waking time is a luxury and rarely occurs. Kids, jobs, deadlines…we have a lot to do. But there is something so satisfying and freeing about sleeping in without the pressure of having to get up and go. Try to make time once a week to sleep in. You may swap parenting responsibilities with your partner or a grandparent, schedule an appointment later in the day, or say no to a social obligation. Just give yourself some extra time to recharge.
- Get up early
Waking early isn’t for everyone, but some people are revitalised by curating some international time for themselves in the early hours. If this is you, set your alarm a few hours earlier, then get up and do something that kickstarts your day. Going for a run, a walk, or a swim in solitude can be very grounding. An early morning gym class or simply taking some quiet time for meditation or prayer is also beneficial. What do you need the early hours for?
Do you feel exhausted? Are you burnt out? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment with Colleen or Duncan click BOOK ONLINE NOW.