Rest: A Forgotten Life Necessity

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

It is time to stop. Take a deep breath. Now, take another one.
Life has two central themes: activity and rest. And both of them are equally significant. Rest is as important to us as is action and all the activity around us.

Definition of Rest: “Cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength.”

For me activity is all that is. I used to cringe at the thought of what all I would miss if I take a day off. But what I often overlooked is the fact that in order to give my best each day, I needed some time off once in a while, so that I could give my mind and body some space to renew and recuperate.

A well rested person can come back with renewed energy and a fresh perspective. This results in increased productivity, better relationships, lesser stress, healthier body and a more energetic you. Sometimes, we need to slow down and just enjoy life. I realized that we need to start accepting our own company, start spending some time with our own selves.

Although I still struggle with rest once in a while, here are some tips that I have found useful to integrate the practice of rest in everyday life.

1. Take time to rest

Schedule rest in your life. Schedule it for a few minutes each day or even a few minutes per week if daily practice is impossible. In those few minutes, do anything that calms you and renews you. I now schedule 15 minutes (usually more) each day to rest. Some ways I incorporate rest in my daily life are:

• Meditate for 5 minutes
• Take deep breaths
• Talk to a friend
• Listen to music
• Read
• Take a walk alone
• Take a nap
• Dance

Take a day off each week, take a weekend off every 2 months and take a vacation at least once a year.

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid

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2. Stay away from the screens in your rest period

In order to let your body and mind relax and recuperate, try to limit your contact with the screens that control your life aka TV, mobile, PC, laptop etc. It may prove to be difficult. Don’t give in though. While you rest, start becoming aware of your urge to constantly stay in touch with the people around you, your dependence on the things that do not really matter in life.

“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” – Benjamin Franklin

3. Let go of unfinished tasks

It is impossible for me to let go of things unfinished. I feel a compulsion to first read my mails, make my bed, organize my room, check Facebook, study for test, finish an important paper etc before I take out time to rest. The problem with this is that once I am done with all this stuff (that is if I ever am); there is no time to rest. And life is uninterrupted flow of many such days. So, it is advisable to let yourself rest for a few minutes before starting these activities. Take time out to rest even if you are in middle of the most urgent work that day.

“What is without periods of rest will not endure.” – Ovid

4. Stop feeling guilty about taking a day off

STOP feeling guilty each time you schedule a day off in your life. STOP thinking if that day could be better utilized doing something else. STOP arguing with yourself. Rest.

After you rest, you will return rejuvenated. You will have more desire, capacity and effectiveness to do all tasks. And the returns will be better too.

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.” – Leonardo da Vinci

It is absolutely important to give yourself some rest and spend some time with yourself in the process. A person who knows himself can conquer the world.

“Silence

It has a sound, a fullness.
It’s heavy with sigh of tree,
and space between breaths.
It’s ripe with pause between birdsong
and crash of surf.
It’s golden they say.
But no one tells us it’s addictive.”
― Angela Long

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