by Lisa Simpkinson
November 15, 2022

Resting can be challenging if you’re highly motivated or constantly have a full calendar. Hustle culture hasn’t helped either, where rest is sometimes associated with laziness, weakness and counterproductivity. 

In recent years, even pre-pandemic, the conversation has thankfully shifted negative perceptions around rest to the essential human requirement. 

Rest is self-care. Self-care is healthcare

Quality and sufficient sleep is the pinnacle of rest. If that isn’t happening, prioritise good sleep. Rest and good sleep are essential for:

  • Muscle and cell recovery (it’s why elite athletes have it in their program)
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Preventing injury and physical and emotional burnout
  • Improving productivity and creativity
  • Enhancing cognitive function (memory, decision-making) 
  • Balancing mood and hormones  
  • Boosting the immune system

Rest is not a waste of time. It’s an investment in wellbeing – Adam Grant 

Our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (SNS and PNS) depend on rest. The SNS governs our stress responses (perceived threats for fight or flight). Simultaneously, the PNS works to restore balance (rest and digest) when these responses are not required. Breathwork, meditation, screen-free time, gentle stretching, or walking help regulate SNS.

Choosing rest

Resting is a conscious choice. It looks different for everyone, and we need different types of rest. It’s intentionally restorative over idling, procrastination or being unmotivated. 

Occasionally, a slouchy couch day eating snacks is acceptable (and needed!). Still, rest should leave us feeling physically and mentally better. If it doesn’t fill your cup or makes you feel worse, it’s not resting.

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Your body is wise and intuitive. Please tune in and hear whispers before they turn to screams. Grant yourself chill time. Reinforce the mindset that allows your body and mind space to heal.