“More sleep” seems to be the go-to prescription for whatever’s ailing you. Stressed? Go to bed earlier. Trying to lose weight? Make sure you’re getting your eight hours. Stomach problems? Sleep is always good for that.
It’s no surprise that sleep is a top recommendation considering more than a third of adults in America aren’t getting enough of it. With REM sleep being essential for learning and increasing some protein production, sleep rightfully takes center stage. However, this leads to people assuming that sleep and rest are the same thing. If you sacrifice your Netflix time to get a full night’s sleep, then you’ve done your due diligence, right? Your mind would argue otherwise.
If every waking moment of your life outside of your time in dreamland is crammed with things to do, frantic thoughts, and constant interaction, then you’re not getting the rest you need. There may be something weirdly satisfying about a full planner, but it doesn’t lead to a fulfilling lifestyle. You need some time that isn’t about placating some checklist or worrying about the future.
Throughout the day, stop and think about whether you’ve had a moment to yourself. If you have, great job, don’t stop there! If you haven’t, treat yourself to a mind-break with one of the following activities.
Shavasana yoga. Yoga may be a workout for some, but people sometimes overlook its restful potential. Also known as the corpse pose, in Shavasana, you lie on your back, arms at your sides, and relax. It may sound silly, but it’s been shown to help with depression, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.
Spend time outside. The average American only spends about 7% of their life outdoors. Next time you get the chance, walk somewhere. It could be from your house to work, the store, or just around the block. People think differently outdoors, and it provides a kind of rest that many miss out on.
Find a dark, quiet place. But most importantly, find a place you can be alone. Even if you’re the most extroverted person in the world, you still need quiet moments to yourself. Use these to rest and get to know yourself a little better. Think about the present, about questions to ask yourself, or simply enjoy precious time spent in solitude.Make a list of reasons why you’re thankful. Some people are just list people, no matter what. If you can’t find rest by being still or keeping your mind still, then focus your thoughts with a list. It shouldn’t be a list focused on pressure, deadlines, or regrets. Center it on positive things like the people in your life who make your happy, your favorite sensations, or general celebrations about life.