Today I wanted to talk about rest. I’ve had more and more clients recently share that they’re dealing with low energy and fatigue. Even when they’re getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, no matter whether it’s the weekend or a weekday, they’re just feeling tired. And so that has me thinking a lot about why we individually and collectively struggle to find adequate rest.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “don’t just stand there – do something.” And indeed, that’s what many of us have been taught to do. I’ve heard Brené Brown call it “hustling for worth”. We’ve been taught that in order to be important, worthy, or “good”, we need to be doing more, contributing more, and keeping active.
And yet this constant activity isn’t beneficial for ourselves or for others. When we’re constantly “on”, we burn out. When we rush to answer, we don’t get holistic, balanced solutions. And the constant need to show up, be better, and prove our worth is a recipe for anxiety and stress, which we know has a negative effect on our hormones, digestive system, and mind.
So today I wanted to share a reminder that you have the right to rest. You don’t need to prove your worth to anyone. Taking time in silence and stillness isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s the exact recovery that we need, so that we can care for ourselves and for others.
Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate more rest in my day.
I have to mention it. Most adults truly need 7 (and probably 8) to 9 hours of sleep each night. And that’s 7-9 hours of actual sleep, which might mean that you need 8-10 hours of time spent in bed. If you’re feeling fatigued or don’t feel well rested when you wake up…consider increasing your sleep time even by 30 minutes and see how you feel.
Spend time in nature
Getting outdoors is incredibly calming for the body. Many of us live in urban environments where there’s more concrete than grass, so I invite you to find at the very least a quiet neighborhood or a park where you can hear birds and see trees. Take a nature walk without any podcasts or music playing – bonus points for putting your phone on airplane or silent mode. Notice the speed that nature moves at and invite yourself to sync up with that rhythm.
Incorporate Yin Yoga
This practice utilizes 3-5 minute holds in more restorative-type postures to help you relax the muscles and stretch the connective tissues of the body. It’s a great way to practice not doing and rebalance the body after a day of movement. You’ll notice how much your brain will want to be active and your body will want to “do”. And that’s exactly why yin yoga a necessary practice!
Relax for the same result
Did you know that you can be active and relax at the same time? I got this idea from Derek Sivers, who talks about ‘relaxing for the same result’. He explores how we can find relaxation even as we are moving and doing.
How do you go about your activities in a restful way? A key component to doing so is releasing attachments to outcomes and how we think things “should” be. As you release the need for things to happen on a specific timeline or in a specific way, you make room for how things actually are and ultimately find rest from the constant overthinking, analyzing, and hoping for things to be a certain way.
I hesitated on whether I wanted to include this on our list. Meditation invites us to focus our attention and slow down. But for many of us, meditation becomes another thing on the to-do list or just one more thing that we can feel that we’re failing at. So I invite you to approach any meditation practice with gentleness and self-compassion. Any time spent breathing mindfully counts, even if it’s just 1 or 3 breaths. If you’re interested in a guided meditation, I recommend my chakra balancing meditation or a meditation designed to help you put the stress down.
These are just some of my favorite approaches to finding more rest. I’d love to hear from you – what’s your relationship to rest? What keeps you from finding more rest? And which one of the strategies listed above is something you could incorporate into your routine? Comment below to let me know.
PS – I have a workshop coming up! If you’re looking for simple routines and rituals that you can use to refresh and restore your energy this spring, join me at my virtual spring refresh on April 17th! Learn more and register here.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,