5 Benefits of Regular Rest and How to Make it a Priority

I admitted to a friend that I am totally not as “on it” since I have been pregnant. The amount of work I could churn out in a day was maddening and no staff member could keep up. But I have listened deeply to the calls of my body and the amount of energy it takes to grow this baby inside of me and I have slowed down immensely.

Of course, I would be lying if I didn’t admit there was a little resistance. I have been wired since I was young to overachieve. This was my coping mechanism. My father once told me in high school to slow down or I would give myself an ulcer. Well, I never got an ulcer, but a plethora of other things like digestive woes, a fried nervous system, insomnia, etc. He was right.

One night last week I had a dream that someone told me I wasn’t working enough. 

Can you believe that? My subconcious thinks I am lazy with all of this rest. Well, little does she know I have worked hard to change those thoughts and I woke up and blew it off.

My body needs rest right now...more than I could ever imagine. So, even though sometimes those old thoughts creep in about not doing enough, I have learned to listen to the wisdom of my body instead. And I encourage everyone to do so.

We have so many stories running through our heads and thoughts of we should be doing this or we should have done that. But it is actually in the resting that we can shut off the incessant noise, find clarity and feel rejuvenated to take on each day.

And rest doesn’t always just mean more sleep. Of course, we all probably need that, too, since over 40 million Americans struggle with sleep disorders. Active rest is also extremely beneficial…and I’m not talking about a recovery day from a myriad of exercise. I’m talking about unplugging, going outdoors in nature to hike, spending a day with your family without distractions or errands, going to dinner with your partner and taking a stroll, just enjoying being {with yourself or the ones you love}.

5 Benefits of Regular Rest

  1. Reduces Stress. This is the numero uno benefit. In our modern day with all of the technology and media we consume, our amounts of stress are through the roof. In fact, many people walking this earth are constantly in a state of fight or flight mode because their sympathetic nervous system is set to ON nonstop and their body no longer knows how to recover. Regular rest is the answer.

  2. Reduces inflammation. Inflammation is one of your body’s physiological responses to an unbalanced amount of stress or allostatic load. So, slow your roll and you’ll see your body chill out in response.

  3. Boosts your immune system. When we have an unnatural amount of stressors in our lives, it affects all of the systems of the body, including the immune system. So, yes, that makes us more susceptible to colds, the flu and even allergies.

  4. Adds years to your life. Well, I’m not sure what age you’re shooting for, but without adequate rest, you’re cutting off years of your life. One of the top regrets of the dying if wishing they hadn’t worked so hard. So, now is your chance to create balance in your life so that you can live a long one without regret.

  5. Increases creativity. When I go on vacation, I come back inspired with more ideas than ever. In fact, I have to restrain myself. But I don’t just go lay on a beach somewhere {well, maybe a day or two}. I have to be active, so my most restful vacations are when I’m hiking in the mountains, exploring a new town, going on a retreat with horses {or other humans} and just being out in nature.

So, if you’re ready to make resting a priority in your life, here are a few ways to start:

  1. Pencil rest into your calendar. Rest should be part of your week, month and year. So, make sure you’re getting at least one full day off each week, preferably two. And one of those days are for you to totally unplug from all the distractions {yes, put down that smartphone!} and not just run errands all day. At least once per month, try to get away for a day-long adventure or weekend if possible. And take your vacations! You don’t have to always go somewhere exotic. You can simply go camping at a nearby state park. Staycations are good if you’re actually disconnecting. If you just find yourself doing the same stuff, on your laptop and doing chores, it’s not going to be as beneficial.

  2. Make it a priority. This is why I want you to schedule rest in your calendar and don’t waver. YOU are worth resting for. Maybe it’s that yoga class every week that soothes your soul or a massage once per month that keeps you sane. Just begin putting yourself at the top of the list. You’ll teach your children to do the same. And no, it’s not selfish.

  3. Say “no” a lot and set healthy boundaries. The big thing that comes with making yourself a priority is that you have to learn to say “no.” And I know, this isn’t easy for many of us because we’re people pleasers. But it’s incredible how people begin to appreciate your honesty when you say you can’t meet on this date because that’s your day of rest or you like to protect that time for your family. You’ll actually give someone else permission to do the same and create a wave of healthy boundaries. Just try it!