Let’s talk about rest, baby.
Besides just being an integral part of your self-care routine, rest is the most important thing we can do to be kind to our minds and bodies.
When we feel tired, our body sends us signals that we need to rest. It can manifest as droopy eyes, lots of yawning, or that unmistakable physical fatigue that feels like you can’t take another step without collapsing in a heap. You might need a nap.
But not all fatigue manifests the same– and a nap (or Netflix) isn’t always the thing that will recharge your batteries. The kind of rest you need after running a marathon will be different than the rest you need after a movie marathon.
Let’s take a look at why this is, and give you some tips on how to recharge like a pro.
You expend energy in a lot of different ways throughout the day.
Talking to people requires a different kind of energy than going for a run, and processing information requires a different kind of energy than planning an event or going to a concert.
According to physician Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Renew Your Sanity, we as humans need different kinds of rest at different times– depending on how we’re exerting ourselves and what the body needs at any given moment.
A scenario: you come home from work. It’s late, and you’re exhausted, and you decide to watch a movie. Pretty standard R n’ R move. But if your job requires you to look at a screen for eight hours, you might not feel much better after a feature film’s worth of light and sound (plus all that blue light might not feel so great for your tired eyes).
A lot of the self-care narrative has centered around face masks, bubble baths and a glass of wine. While these interventions certainly have their places in our lives, they might not work every time. Here are some tips for recharging yourself in all the different ways your body may be craving.
Remember the droopy eyes, the yawning, and the exhaustion? Did you flip through your journal notes and realize you’ve been working more and sleeping less this week? Sleep is the number one thing you can do to replenish your energy stores and get back to feeling bright.
Laying down and elevating your legs (especially if you have a job that requires a lot of standing)
Deep, slow breaths throughout the day
Going to bed 30 minutes earlier
Naps. All the naps.
Feeling lost, alone or without purpose? Sometimes you know your spirit needs a boost when you get that vague feeling of confusion, anxiety or doubt about your place in the universe. Spiritual rest reconnects our minds to our bodies to get us feeling whole again.
Religion, if that’s your jam
Pick up a philosophy book
Catch yourself rereading the same sentence over and over again and somehow being unable to retain what it said? Feeling mentally drained makes it seem like your brain’s gone fuzzy, and it can be frustrating (and scary) when you can’t rely on your mind to think straight. Mental rest can feel grounding, head-clearing, and refreshing when you need it most.
Taking a screen break
Going for a hike
Aromatherapy (look for cooling, refreshing scents)
Dealing with hurt feelings is exhausting. But it doesn’t have to be as extreme as a breakup or a funeral to take a toll on your energy levels– little hurts and microaggressions accumulate. Rather than internalizing the feels, emotional rest looks like expressing the feels, to free up your inner world for new experiences and wholesome interactions with loved ones.
Venting to someone you feel 100% comfortable around
Talking to a therapist
Setting a boundary
Are you constantly bombarded by bright lights and abrasive sounds? Feeling headachey, tense or irritable? It might be time to shut the stimuli off for a little while.
Taking a screen break
Some good old fashioned quiet time
Going for a stroll in nature
Socializing can be exhausting, especially if it’s a part of your job every day (service industry folks– we see you). After a long day of small talk, you might be craving a deep, restorative conversation with an old friend– or maybe some good old fashioned alone time.
Bailing on plans and staying in for the night
Reading a book
Some alone time
Practicing a personal skill
Ever feel like your brain just can’t make connections you want it to make? Writer’s block? Blank page woes and a lack of inspiration? You’re not a neverending well of creativity– if you’re constantly producing without taking a break to replenish yourself, the well is gonna dry up. It might be time to take the pressure off and tap into your playful side to replenish your creative energy stores and get your spark back.
A Pinterest sesh
Having some fun by doing anything that feels like play!
Flipping through pages of your favorite books or magazines
Going to an art museum
Seeing a movie in theatres