How to rest when the world doesn't want you to.

How to rest when the world doesn't want you to.

Recently I've been playing around with the idea of un-deserved rest! Rest for the sake of rest. Rest because it is important for my nervous system, my whole system. Rest, because science tells me it helps with clarity, productivity, relationships, creativity and immunity. Rest, because I don't do it enough.

Recently I asked a group of people, if they were in need of help, would they ask the most efficient person they knew, or the person who was less capable? There are no prizes for guessing which kind of person they would choose. It is obvious right?

Being one of those efficient types, I am generally the one who gets asked to help out, or do more, so I am needing to learn skills in managing this common issue.

This is another reason why rest for me right now is so vital.

Over the last 3 weeks I have been consciously slowing down, choosing rest over other activities, purposely lying on the grass and simply watching the world around me, walking slower, avoiding mindless rushing and simply doing things with less pace.

And it is working.

Non sleeping rest is under-rated and I want to share with you why it scientifically deserves to be rated more highly.

Stress Reduction and Cortisol Regulation:

Engaging in non-sleeping rest activities, such as mindfulness meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help reduce stress levels. Chronic stress leads to an overproduction of cortisol, a stress hormone, which, when elevated for extended periods, can have negative health effects.

Improved Cognitive Function:

Taking breaks and incorporating non-sleeping rest into your routine can enhance cognitive function. Brief periods of rest have been shown to prevent cognitive fatigue, improve concentration, and boost productivity. Activities like short breaks, meditation, or simply stepping away from a task can contribute to maintaining optimal cognitive performance.

Enhanced Creativity and Problem-Solving:

Non-sleeping rest allows the brain to shift into different modes, promoting creativity and problem-solving skills. Taking breaks from focused tasks can lead to "incubation periods," during which the brain continues to work on problems in the background. This can result in novel solutions and creative insights when returning to the task.

Physical Recovery and Reduced Muscular Fatigue:

Non-sleeping rest, especially in the form of active recovery or relaxation techniques, can aid in the recovery of muscles and reduce physical fatigue. Activities like stretching, yoga, or massage promote blood circulation, reduce muscle tension, and contribute to faster recovery after physical exertion.

Enhanced Emotional Well-being and Mood:

Non-sleeping rest, such as engaging in hobbies, spending time in nature, or socializing, can positively impact emotional well-being and mood. These activities often stimulate the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphins, which are associated with feelings of happiness and relaxation.

The other critical thing I have learnt on my recent 'RESTING' journey is how important it has been for me to make sure I put it high on my priority list and support myself in doing it, reassure myself of the benefits and give myself permission.

So here are my top tips for self supporting REST in 2024:

1. Put it on your priority list

2. Recognise in yourself when you have had enough and allow that to be ok.

3. Become curious about your relationship to rest and to productivity.

4. Celebrate your achievements, by allowing yourself to savour them and then rest.

5. The ability to rest is a skill that is under represented. Be the one to share the value of deep rest in your community.