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The importance of rest

Taking a pause
January 28, 2019

Why prioritising rest and recovery in our lives is not optional but essential

There’s no doubt that modern life is full on and full-steam ahead. Our culture thrives on busy schedules and long hours slaving at the office, with ‘overworked’ and ‘overtired’ viewed as badges of honour. But did you know that scientific evidence has proven how essential rest and recuperation are for not only well-being and health, but to boost productivity, creativity and cognitive function as well?

If you’re struggling through your work days, unmotivated, fatigued, emotionally or physically burnt out, learning how to take care of your needs and well-being will go a long way in improving your happiness. It’s easier than you think, to prioritise rest in your life.

Many women let self-care slide, especially when they’re busy or overwhelmed. But taking a rest, learning when your body and mind needs a break, can make all the difference to your well-being. It’s vital to discern what your needs are from your wants and how to make sure that you meet them, without relying on anyone else. Taking care of your needs is not optional, it is essential for your well-being. Knowing yourself well and listening to the cues that your body sends you, will help you know when some time-out is required:

  • Are you physically tired – Has an illness caused your physical well-being to take a step back? Or could you be experiencing adrenal burn-out?
  • Are you emotionally fatigued? Trauma, grief, or over-extending your emotional capabilities without refueling can lead to emotional collapse like anxiety or depression.
  • Are you following values and goals not aligned to who you truly are, leading to spiritual drain? Learn to follow and live by values which reflect who you are and who you want to be in the world. Being true to yourself is in itself a self-care practice.

How to start

You don’t need to start with overly complicated and time-consuming activities to rest. Here are five simple yet effective ways to rejuvenate body and mind:

  1. Take a nap. We all know sleep is crucial to how our body and mind operates, and yet it’s so often neglected in our day to day. Prioritise sleep in your life, making sure you get good quality sleep, as much as quantity. Poor sleep is not only physically impeding, but leads to poor cognitive function, emotional behaviour, bad decision-making, and even the onset of illness.
  2. Exercise. Moving your body, through a dance class, a walk, or lifting weights boosts feel good hormones in your body, plus helps keeps your heart healthy.
  3. Nurture your hobbies, passions and interests. If you truly love something, make time for it in your life.
  4. Go on vacation. Changing your routine a few times during the year can increase mental function and boost creative thinking whilst offering a chance for relaxation.
  5. Ask for help. It’s not necessary to always go it alone to prove you are strong and have everything under control. We all need help sometimes. You are always there for everybody else. Allow them to be there for you too.

Through showing yourself compassion and understanding and by incorporating simple, yet life-changing, habits into your life, you can increase your energy and vitality, leading to more joy and happiness.