Rest: how to disconnect after a stressful day
The art of doing nothing
Each one of us is unique. We have interests, hobbies, tastes, characteristics that define and shape us. Some are faithful advocates of summer and others prefer the comfort of winter blankets and a warm drink. Some go to the office, others work from home and many, even unwittingly, take the work from the office home. There are extroverts with a thousand groups of friends and a lot of activities every weekend and there are also introverts who prefer to lead a more leisurely and homelike life.
Whatever you are, beyond what group you identify with, there is something that unites us all: the need to rest. Rest is important for children and adults, of any gender, origin, profession or socio-economic position.
But there is a small trap that makes it a bit difficult. That we all need to rest does not imply that we all understand rest in the same way. Maybe that’s why sometimes it’s so hard for us to take a much-needed break. Because we do not know what that pause is, what it means for us, for each one of us, to actually rest.
Recently, another inconvenience has been added to the equation. With the rise of social networks millions of people connect once their work schedule is over – and many do it from the office too. – They think it’s a way to rest. For some it may be, but the reality is that more and more people are realizing the disadvantages of spending their time relaxing on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Imagine, you arrive one day tired of your eight hours of work, plus what it takes to get to your house. You open the phone and start to watch Instagram. That network where everyone uploads, we upload, the best version of us. A filtered life and in some cases even artificial. If above all you follow instagramers whose job is to assemble these aspirational settings with the perfect body, the perfect beach, the perfect house, everything can become something thick to digest.
It is not about accusing networks of being evil in themselves. They are a tool like many others and used in the right way can be a wonderful place to be inspired, entertain, learn and even meet people.
But it is not always used like that. Some of the most noticeable disadvantages that some people feel is the fact of feeling bad after spending time looking at other people’s lives. They feel that they are not enough, that others live better or are more successful. How terrible to use the little free time we have in something that makes us feel bad. Another of the great cons is the passage of time. Has it ever happened to you to start scrolling and not realize that half an hour passed away? Or even more time. And what did you gain?
What taking a break means to you?
They teach us that we should be responsible in our work, in our studies, with the housework and in our relationships. But I do not know how many of us have present that we also have to be responsible when managing our rest time. Maybe it is not given the importance that corresponds because we are not aware to what extent the way we take a break affects how we feel and behave when we return to the activity.
It is important that we recognize what rest is for me and how much time it implies. There are people who can rest in a group and others need to do it in solitude. Some can combine both. Sometimes it happens that they invite you to do some activity that your friends may consider “resting” but you do not. I’m not saying do not go, but be aware of it and sooner or later give yourself the time to have your well-deserved break.
Leisure and rest are often confused because there are some activities that can belong to both categories. The key is to identify in which category everything is for you.
It is also worth noting that there are activities where one rests the mind but not the body and vice versa. According to the life and rhythm of each one, you must decide what to prioritize. For example, people who suffer from anxiety or stress find that they manage to rest their mind with physical activity such as running or going to the gym. This clearly does not rest the body but it is what they need at that moment. And then they will combine it with some activity where they can also rest physically.
Another important point is to recognize how often we need that rest time. It can be a little time every day, or every week or even a couple of days a month dedicated exclusively to rest. This varies according to the person.
Our nature is cyclical so there will be times where we need to take a break more than others. This is more identifiable in women because we are used to lower the rhythm when we have our periods but men are also cyclical although we can not see it so clearly and we all go through stages of more or less energy. If you can identify them you can organize your life accordingly to fulfill more responsibilities when you are at your peak productivity and you can enjoy a more profound rest in those moments where the body asks for care.
Below I will share some examples of things you can do to pause. Maybe you will instantly find the one that resonates with you or you have already identified what you like to do to rest. If not, you can try several until you find yours and I recommend that you let yourself be guided by your intuition, because deep down we always know what is best for us. Do not force yourself, as I mentioned before we are all different. So if your partner loves to read and feels super relaxed after a novel but you hate books, do not judge yourself or waste your time on something you already know you do not like. Give yourself permission to be yourself, that is also great rest.
1. Social media
As I mentioned before, it is not about eradicating them from our lives if you feel that they are giving you something positive in some way. It is important to use them consciously. Knowing how much time we want to dedicate and how often. FOMO (Fear of missing out) is real and you may feel that if you are not constantly connected you will miss what is happening. But like any other fear you can not let it control you. Do yourself the favor of checking your networks and stop following those accounts or people who do not give you or make you feel good. In this way the time you do decide to spend in networks you will find yourself in a virtual place surrounded only by positive and motivating content.
2. Read a book
Many will think that this is evident, and yes it is. But I want to point out that not all books are resting. Sometimes it happens to me that I get very excited about a topic and I want to know more about it. It may happen to you with books related to your profession or what you are studying. Then reading becomes studying at the same time and yes, learning is divine and you can never achieve too much knowledge, see if you feel that you are resting. Probably not. So if you need to reset read a book that transports you, something fiction like a novel for example where you can go for a little while to that story world.
3. Clean your space
It does not happen to me personally, I wish it were like that. But there are people who consider cleaning and sorting their home part of their personal care routine. I do not enjoy the tasks itself, but when my space is in order I feel that my mind has permission to be in order as well. Keep your house tidy and clean so that, each time you arrive, you feel that you can immediately start to rest. Here you can clearly see how our pauses require our attention and continuing responsibility.
4. Take holidays
There are things you can do daily or introduce into your weekly routine to give your body and mind your well-deserved rest:
If you can introduce this practice to your day to day just a few minutes you will be able to feel more rested in general.
2. Walks in nature
It is not a power walk to burn calories. It’s about disconnecting, appreciating your surroundings and leaving behind the energy that you bring from your workplace.
Some people say that it is an activity that de-stresses them a lot. Clearly not in a traffic jam or rush hour, but if there is a route with good views near where you live you can go for a drive.
4. Take a nap
Just 20 minutes can make the difference between feeling tired or being able to continue facing the rest of the day with a smile.
This is my favorite because it is very versatile. You can choose the music according to how you feel or what energy you want to stimulate. I like it because I feel like I’m starting to rest even when I’m on my way home.
6. Take a bath
This can be in a bathtub or in the sea. We have a very special connection with water, our body is almost all water and contact with it gives us immediate relief. If you have a bathtub you can use salts that help you enjoy a deeper relaxation.
The options are endless and it can take you just a few minutes to make the difference between feeling at peace or tired. It’s about finding the perfect option for you. Rest is vital to lead a full and healthy life. If you feel that it is difficult for you to disconnect and you can not find a way to take a break, you can go to a professional who can help you manage the level of stress and fatigue you are managing. In Discovering Therapy you can find several health professionals from different disciplines that can help you get the rest you need so much.