Finding ways to incorporate Rest into your day can be a challenge, especially with a never-ending to-do list! This is something I have struggled with for years, and I have found a few things that have helped me find pockets of downtime. Today I will share what works for me in the hopes that it will help you find some much-needed downtime too.
Life can be fast-paced and demanding, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and in need of Rest more than ever. But Rest doesn't always mean extended vacations or luxurious spa days; it can be found in the smallest moments, nurturing your body, mind, and soul.
It took a long time for me to allow myself to Rest., and then some more time to do this without feeling guilty. I come from a hard-working family who has always prioritized work. It still takes work for me to actively take time out today without feeling guilty or falling into the narrative that resting is lazy. This is why Room of Rest is both my passion project and my work, I want to share resources that I wish I had access to when I allowed work to take over my life to the point where I ended up hospitalized for exhaustion. I will write about this in a later blog post.
For now, let’s jump into the tips!
1: Embrace Micro-Rest Moments
Throughout your day, take mini-breaks to breathe deeply, stretch, or simply close your eyes for a minute. These micro-rest moments can be incredibly revitalizing, providing a refreshing pause in between your busy schedule. Get up from your desk, stretch your legs, sit back in your chair, and take a few deep breaths. Let’s try a few breaths together right now…
If you are sitting, lean back into your seat so your back is supported. Take a deep breath in, and let out a sigh. On your next inhale, breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, 3, 2, 1, and exhale by nose for a count of 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. If the exhale count feels too long, exhale for less time, just as long as it’s longer than your inhale. And again breathe in for 4, exhale for 8, and take another 2 breaths like this.
Notice how you feel. If this improved how you feel, use it whenever you want or need to.
2: Create A Restful Environment
Designate a space in your home for relaxation. Whether it's a cozy nook with cushions or a serene corner with soft lighting, having a dedicated area for Rest will invite calmness into your life. I love using salt lamps and some white sage incense to create a calming environment, find what resonates with you.
3: Practice Mindful Movement
Incorporate gentle yoga stretches or mindful walking into your day. These mindful movements not only release physical tension but also bring awareness to the present moment, fostering a sense of peace.
These sessions do not have to be a full-hour workout. A 10-minute walk or doing some stretches before bed could be your mindful movement of choice. Sometimes I do some mindful stretching in bed in the morning before I wake up and this can be enough to get me started for the day.
4: Prioritize Sleep
Quality sleep is essential for restoration. Establish a calming bedtime routine, dim the lights, and unwind with a book or soothing music to prepare your body and mind for a restful slumber.
Again, salt lamps are great for preparing your mind for sleep. Most smartphones have sleep tracking on them now, so perhaps start using yours to see how consistent you are with your sleep. You can even set your phone up to tell you when to get ready for bed and start winding down.
5: Say "No" To Overcommitment
In our busy lives, it's easy to take on more than we can handle. Learning to say "no" to non-essential commitments allows you to free up time for Rest and self-care. Perhaps set yourself some parameters according to how much you want to commit to on a weekly or monthly basis.
For example, if you know that you only want to do one big social activity per week, then you know that once you have committed to one, your social diary is full for the week and you can postpone your other commitments or simply say ‘no thank you’.
6: Disconnect From Technology
Give yourself designated tech-free time every day. Unplugging from devices can reduce mental clutter and create space for stillness and rejuvenation. One thing that I no longer do is charge my phone next to my bed whilst I sleep. My bedroom is now a device-free zone, I set up a charging station just outside my bedroom and this means that there is no temptation to scroll before bed, and I also have to get out of bed in the morning to switch off my alarm.
Sometimes I slip into old habits and will be caught with my phone in bed, especially if my mind won’t switch off or I need to make my 'all-important' lists. But generally, this system works really well for having some phone-free time before bed.
7: Cultivate Gratitude
Embrace a gratitude practice, reflecting on the positive aspects of your life. Cultivating gratitude shifts your focus from stress to appreciation, fostering a sense of contentment and restfulness. Try this gratitude practice for yourself. Set a reminder on your phone for the same time every day, preferably at the end of your day, that says “Think of something that made you smile today”.
Sit back and consider 1 thing that made you smile that day, and stay with how that makes you feel for as long as possible. This might be a few seconds or minutes but stay with it.
8: Embrace Guided Relaxation
Incorporate guided relaxation practices, such as Yoga Nidra, into your routine. These practices help soothe your nervous system and induce deep Rest, leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed.
I have a short 15-minute Calming Yoga Nidra recording that is great for an insight into the practice, and if you want a quick pick-me-up.
Click the button below to access the recording.
9: Schedule Downtime
Set aside time for leisure activities you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature. I am still struggling with this one and find myself getting so frustrated with myself sometimes as I have spent a whole day working or teaching and have not taken any time for myself.
What I do now is fit this downtime into my routine no matter what. It could be reading on the train on my way to teach, doing yoga in the morning so I know I have had my time at the beginning of the day, or listening to my favorite music or podcast on my walk to and from the station.
10: Incorporate Power Naps
This is my go-to Rest activity. Just like the idea of resting in general, it took me a while to get my head around the idea that napping wasn’t me being lazy.
A short nap during the day can boost productivity and energy levels. I notice this most when I take a nap before I get ready to go and teach in the evening, anything from 20 minutes to 1 hour can really boost my energy and almost reset my mind to prepare to teach. I highly recommend this tip!
Remember, Rest is not a luxury; it's a necessity for your well-being. By integrating these simple tips into your daily life, you can find moments of peace and tranquility amidst the daily chaos.
May these tips guide you toward a more serene and balanced daily life.