It's the summer holidays! Although at the moment the weather isn't especially sunny, the school holidays provide us with a natural break to take a breather, reflect and look ahead. It also gives many people, including our children and young people a time for rest, recuperation and recovery before September.
Rest is a word that we use a lot, but what is rest and how can it be effective? Effective rest should offer us a time to physically, mentally and emotionally recharge and recover. It should help us manage our energy and refresh us to continue thriving in our day to day lives. The core of effective rest is quality not quantity, it's not about how many hours or days we spend resting but whether that period (regardless of length) was impactful, fruitful and made us feel rested in a variety of ways.
Effective rest is like the pillars of a bridge. They are needed to support the daily use of the bridge to allow the cars to travel safely. In the same way we need rest to underpin our daily lives and all that they entail. Rest pillars must also be spread consistently along the bridge to successfully support it and distribute the weight. This makes it less likely for the bridge to show cracks and eventually collapse, which we might call burnout! It is important to note here that for many people rest is not easy. We live in a fast paced, non-stop world with a #hustle culture which has a tendency to favour the grind and crazy working hours over rest. Rest should be treated as a skill, as something we need to practise, some people are better at it than others but it is important for everyone.
Rest is for life, not just for summer. The school year and seasons provide us with a structure of rest and so does the average working week allowing the weekends for down time. However, effective rest should be something that we are building into our daily, weekly, monthly and yearly routines. So, what can rest look like? The time it takes for your body to recover after a big gym session? A period of needed time after burnout? An all inclusive holiday to a sunny destination? A good sleep or nap? Yoga? Netflix? A small moment of stillness? The answer is all of the above! Rest can look different for everyone.
I asked some of the Phase team what effective Rest looks like for them. For James, rest is rewatching his favourite TV shows with his mates, going to the cinema and running. Amanda shared that she does different things for different kinds of rest. For example she finds gardening and weed pulling mentally restful, while to take spiritual rest she likes to sit in a quiet , beautiful spot taking in all the sights and sounds around her. You can check out Amandas thoughts on rest here. For me, I love a nap, I find that it resets my body and mind and I also find being creative either alone or with others restful. Kieran finds rest in learning something new that he is interested in for example DIY and also watching one of his comfort movies such as Gladiator! We all rest differently.
Top Tips for Rest
Everyone is different. Rest is personal to you so do it how you want to and try different types of rest to make sure you're rested in a variety of ways, not just physical rest. Here are some types of rest that we could consider:
- Physical rest
- Emotional rest
- Creative rest
- Mental rest
- Digital rest
- Sensory rest
- Social rest
- Spiritual rest
Have good rest boundaries in place. It can be challenging to work and rest at the same time (especially when working from home) so try to create a boundary of when work ends and rest begins. Similarly try to keep your rest time as protected time, instead of pencilling it into your diary ready to be written over when something ‘more productive’ arises.
Sleep is important. Good sleep helps us to recover faster, boost our mood and reduce stress and anxiety. To find out more about the importance of sleep and everything it impacts take a listen to this Steven Bartlett podcast episode where he has a conversation with sleep expert, Matthew Walker. You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Youtube.
Resting isn't lazy. Rest is key to creativity, efficiency, resilience, healing, innovation, our mood, our health, our relationships, and our day to day functioning, growth and ability to thrive.
So as the school holidays unfold I want to encourage you to think about the following questions:
- What does effective rest look like for you?
- How can you build it into your termly, weekly or daily routine?
- What is something you will do over the next week to rest well?
“If you get tired, learn to rest not quit”
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