rest to fill | Psychology Today UK
Integrate relaxation into your life.
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It’s that time of year when many of us reluctantly return from vacation and roll up our sleeves to get back to work. But as you dive back into your to-do list, it’s important to remember to make rest an essential part of your routine year-round. Without rest, you risk depleting your resources and burning out. Rest, like sleep, is necessary to recharge your batteries, and just like nutrients from food, you need your vitamin “R”.
Research has shown that rest in the form of naps can reduce fatigue and increase alertness. This type of recreation can improve your mental creativity and physical performance. Adequate rest can also help you maintain a healthy weight, as lack of sleep has been linked to increased appetite and slowing metabolism.
What exactly is rest and how do you integrate it into your life?
Here are some restorative strategies that are relaxing and restorative.
Go for a walk in nature. Take a walk in a park or other natural setting. Be sure to focus your attention on what your senses perceive – the color of the leaves, the chirping of birds, the scent of flowers and the feel of a breeze or the sun on your skin. Immersing yourself in nature can be deeply revitalizing.
Write to reflect. After your nature walk, take a few minutes to reflect on what you saw, experienced, and how it made you feel. You can write about anything that comes to mind, as well as seasonal changes over time that you notice. You can also use a writing technique like stemming, filling in the blank: “One thing that made me smile on my walk today was ___________ because ____________.”
meditate Regular meditation can also help you relax deeply and even sleep better. There are dozens of guided meditations online or through meditation apps that can help you calm the mind, reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and slow your heart rate.
Practice yoga. Similar to meditation, yoga can help facilitate calm. Yoga naturally activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which then tells the body to relax. But you don’t have to bend into a pretzel. Visit a local yoga studio for an introductory class or try some simple poses to rest. You can also check out yogi and self-care resources geared specifically towards black people.
Turn off Noise. What prevents us from resting? The constant ringing of our phones, negative media coverage, and toxic people in our lives. Turn off your phone at the end of the day or block notifications; limit viewing or scrolling of messages to no more than one hour; and respond to negative people when you are ready (if at all) and rested.
Have a bedtime routine. Create a restful environment by blocking the light, choosing comfortable bedding, and keeping the temperature cool. Make a habit of going to bed at the same time every night and try to sleep with your eyes closed for at least 7 hours to revitalize all of your body’s systems.
Take personal days and vacations. Too many of us don’t take all of our paid time off out of a sense of duty or an unhealthy work ethic. Take the days you deserve. As you look ahead to the year ahead, remember to make time for your next long vacation and a few long weekends a year. Catching up with friends on a getaway or even planning your own “mental health” day can do wonders for your well-being.