If you read this and think ‘I’ve no time to rest’ you, of all people need to rest and if rest means an excuse to move less and sit more, then you too need to read this!
Rest means a change, a break, a respite from what you are doing. It is as much physical as it is mental. Therefore rest impacts on your mental and physical health, both positively and negatively depending on how you choose to use it in your life.
If you have been sitting or standing and your body feels heavy and weary, move it, stretch it, bend it, work it. It would be easy to fall into the trap of overcoming the weariness prolonged sitting or standing brings to your body, by sitting and continuing to be still. However, the fatigue felt from the effect of being still for extended periods, can be quickly and easily remedied through movement. Stretch, reach up, walk, side bend, crouch. MOVE . YOUR . BODY!!
Taking ‘brain breaks’ by turning your attention to a different mental activity rests your brain, allowing it to focus more clearly when you return to a task. If your mind is spinning and not able to draw satisfactory conclusions or closure, work hard at bringing your attention to the here and now. Concentrate all your attention on the process of a specific physical task. Outwardly or inwardly verbalise what you are doing; making a drink, clearing your desk. More effective still, get up to move, stretch, bend and work your body in way that is different from what you were doing.
HOWEVR, if you are doggedly exercising, working or living in a pattern that is relentless and leaves you feeling exhausted and drained week after week, you too need to reflect on the changes you need to make, to break the erosion on your mental and physical well being. In this context you need to allocate time to take a break from the lifestyle or activities that are creating this depletion on your reserves.
The concept of rest may not fit neatly into your life plan. It may represent too much down time or wasted time that could be otherwise better used. Or you may feel that rest is for the frail or the lazy or for the ‘going no where’ people. Rest, in its entirety is a vital aspect of human existence, much like sleep. The more you ignore its necessity the more you run the risk of draining all your reserves to the point where your health can seriously fail. This in turn can take significantly longer to recover from compared to taking short but regular and consistent ‘rest investments’ as part of your daily life.
Likewise, if you are recovering from ill health, which as I write I am, forcing your body to perform on any level before it is ready, again erodes your reserves. The fact that this is maddening and frustrating beyond belief, as you watch your life seemingly stagnate, is a reality one needs to face. It is more about managing your mindset, listening and respecting your body, as opposed to allowing yourself to be madder and more frustrated than is one’s norm… This is incredibly challenging but unless you respond rationally to your physical health, your mental health can become as great an issue to remedy and vice versa.
So my parting gift to you and to myself, is to give yourself the respite your body needs, at any given point in time. This will facilitate greater longevity for you to be healthy enough to live the life you want to live.