The Importance of Rest
Posted on Dec 15, 2021
I was recently thinking about how important rest is to our minds, bodies and spirits and found an article called “The Benefits Of Resting And How To Unplug In A Busy World.” Here is a summary of good information from that article:
Have you ever felt like you can’t keep up with your daily tasks and deadlines? What’s even more challenging is maintaining your health, your job, and other responsibilities amongst uncertainties or moments of overwhelm—leaving you little to no time for rest.
However, rest is a fundamental part of success, health, and happiness. There are many distractions in this digital world, and always something (or someone) requiring your attention. No matter what your schedule or task list may look like, resting and unplugging is vital to your long-term health. Here’s why:
Heals Your Body
The human body is built to thrive in a series of short sprints. This is why taking a break—even only for a few minutes—can offer you the refresh you need to persevere through your day. Breaks are brief cessations to work, physical exertion, or emotional stress. They promote mental health, boost creativity, increase productivity, promote well-being, reduce stress, improve mood, and strengthen relationships.
The amount of rest required depends on your individual needs. If you didn’t sleep well, feel angry, or stressed, you may require more frequent breaks. Adequate rest helps your body activate its inner healing cascade and return to a state of homeostasis. This is when your body can repair and recover.
Stress is an intrinsic aspect of life. For some, it may act as a stimulant, but for others, it feels more like a burden. Chronic stress suppresses your immune system and increases your risk of disease. You may experience an increased heart rate and blood pressure during this state, slowed digestive functioning, increased hormone levels (like cortisol), and other responses. Resting activates the parasympathetic nervous system—the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, which is the flight-or-fight response.
When you take time to rest and relax, you are naturally more creative. Time off helps you refill your reserves. The quiet moments inspire reflection time, allowing you to break through creative barriers.
Similar to other muscles, your brain is less functional when it’s fatigued. You’re always more productive after a restful period—one reason why Mondays are often filled with high importance tasks or meetings; resting sharpens your brain. Taking time off will allow you to work more efficiently whenever you get back to it. Set aside one day each week to unplug to improve productivity and feel a greater sense of accomplishment.
Enhances Decision Making
The term “sleep on it” is accurate because rest improves your ability to make decisions. Working too long without rest reduces your concentration and can depreciate your emotional capacity. Regularly scheduled breaks—daily and weekly—allows you to refresh your perspective, and in turn, make better decisions. Rest is only significant when you purposefully do it. Here are some techniques you can implement in your daily schedule.
When life is busy, and task lists pile up, pencil rest into your schedule just as you would a meeting or appointment. Develop simple routines for your day that cue you to rest; it will make relaxing a breeze.
Most people focus on the ‘big’ things they’re grateful for—instead, refocus your gratitude on the little things. Research suggests positive thoughts and a grateful mind are more likely to create a happy disposition and boost overall satisfaction.
Take Deep Breaths
Set a goal to take five deep breaths throughout your day. Cue yourself at different intervals, which may be in an ordinary routine, i.e., in the morning while your coffee or tea brews or while you wait for your computer to turn on.
Exercise reduces the adverse effects of stress, improves mood, and regulates neurotransmitters and other hormones. Mindfully practice relaxation; it is an essential aspect of life and should carry a similar weight to career objectives and other to-dos. By turning your body “off” periodically, you can significantly improve your physical, emotional, and mental health.
Practice Sleep Hygiene
Getting adequate sleep is vital for physical and mental health. Often, good sleep starts with good habits. Practice sleep hygiene by optimizing your sleep schedule, pre-bed routine, and daily routines—doing so will make quality sleep automatic. Set a sleeping schedule with fixed wake-up times—making gradual adjustments to shift sleep times as necessary.
Follow a nightly routine and keep it consistent. Partake in a ritual that may include spiritual nourishment like meditation before bed. Unplug from electronics 30-60 minutes before bedtime and dim your lights to allow your body’s natural melatonin production.
Filed in Current Health News
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