After grokking on your projects for 6 months, what do you think is the best thing to work even better for the next 2 quarters of the year? You are right, resting well.
Resting properly is not just a one-off thing you do once or twice a year. You should rest your mind and body regularly, as and when your body requires.
In the book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, the author mentions that we need 7 types of rest which are:
- Physical rest: When your body is tired, you want to sleep and not do any work.
- Mental rest: When you are unable to focus on anything, thoughts are turning negative, or you are unable to communicate well.
- Social rest: This happens when you have been socializing a lot. More common with introverts whose energy is drained after meeting with people, but others experience this too.
- Creative rest: When you are doing a lot of creative work, like writing, brainstorming, or teaching. Your brain needs to take a break and let the diffused mode turn on as well.
- Emotional rest: After a tough emotional ride. A fight with a friend or watching a sad movie.
- Spiritual rest: When you feel alone, and do not find the purpose of your work.
- Sensory rest: When you have been getting a lot of stimulation from the outside world, especially screens.
All of these require specific types of rest to regain the depleted energy in the corresponding areas.
Are we afraid of taking rest?
Sometimes we do not want to take a rest. We are too focused on achieving our goals and believe that resting would set us back. Thus, we would have to work harder and faster to make up for the time lost due to resting.
Most of the time, it is the discomfort that makes us afraid of taking a break. When we rest, we are struck with this feeling of boredom that we try to overcome by working on all those things that we strive hard on.
At one point of time, I was going to classes, working on side projects, and was trying to fill up the 5 minutes it took to reach class with reading something new. It was to counter this feeling of boredom, that I have nothing to do, and instead turn it into something productive. Turns out that I was doing it wrong.
Taking rest is just as important as working hard towards our goals. It is necessary to let your brain get bored and do nothing for a while. Or just notice your surroundings while not worrying about all the things that puzzle you during the day.
How to rest well
Before trying to rest well, let us what is not resting –
- Using our phones to play games or watching social media feed is not resting. It involves a lot of sensory processing at our brain’s end which exhausts it even further.
- Sometimes just sleeping is also not going to make us feel well-rested. If we are stressed, it might hamper the quality of our sleep as well.
Anything that stresses your mind, even if the body is not moving, is not resting.
Resting is doing any activity that you enjoy doing and that restores your energy.
For some people, it might be painting. For others, it can be dancing or singing. Some enjoy reading books, others enjoy meditating. Focus on the activities that connect you to your interests, makes you feel alive.
- Be still: Taking some time to just be still, not doing anything and not focusing anywhere relaxes your mind and body both. Just let your brain wander off to anything it feels like without changing its course. Of course, if a lot of negative thoughts come to mind, you can just notice them and let them go away.
- Stretch: Stretching and practicing yoga is not just helpful for your body, but it can also help your brain rest and manage your stress.
- Clean: Cleaning and tidying up your space makes you feel good about your surroundings while also freeing up your mind.
Keeping a proper body structure during the day and sleeping well during the night helps you maintain your energy levels high during the day.