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how to be better at resting

if resting doesn't come naturally to you, you're not alone. many of us don't prioritise rest unless we have 'earnt' it or until we are forced into taking it. in our fast paced society, being busy is accepted as normal and is viewed as a generally positive thing, but what effect is our way of life having on us and is it preventing us from having much needed down time? interestingly, rest tends to come with judgement. research around this shows that people who are perceived to be busy are often thought of as having more meaningful jobs, earning more money and being more successful. guilt also plays a role in our feelings around rest, because we have been conditioned to keep up with to do lists, tasks and work in our modern way of life. we are far more likely to praise the people who take on a lot than we are the people who take life a little slower, even if that means pushing ourselves beyond what we can actually cope with. living in such a stressful way under demanding conditions can make us vulnerable to burn out. burn out is where the line between our work and home life becomes blurred. this can be a detriment to our mental and physical health - leaving us feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and defeated.

to re-frame our thinking of rest we need to change our attitude towards it and recognise its importance and value. rest is actually a really productive way to spend your time and effective resting is about quality rather than quantity. quality rest is when our sensory demands are minimised and our stimulation is lowered. there is less brain and physical activity, allowing us to effectively re-charge. it doesn't have to be sleeping either, it can be anything that helps you to take a pause, switch off and feel relaxed. to give you an idea, you can take inspiration from the following 5 most restful activities according to a 2016 study;

1. reading

2. being in nature

3. being on your own

4. listening to music

5. doing nothing in particular

imagine making a pocket in your day to prioritise one of the above tasks. it doesn't need to be long - start with a manageable 15/20 minutes and see if it makes a difference. some people may require more frequent rest than others as each of our needs will be very different.

when we make time for rest we will find ourselves feeling less stressed, more productive, more creative and we might find it easier to make decisions. rest engages our parasympathetic nervous system and lowers our psychological arousal. we need it to restore balance and aid our inner healing.

don't let burnout be the reason you take rest seriously. try making some small changes today and feel better for it. remember that prevention is better than cure!

stay well,

sophie x

founder of the conscious collective


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