Do You Take Rest Seriously?

Rest. We all think we know what it means, but do we realise its importance in our lives?

We need to be taking rest more seriously!

We’ve heard a lot about sleep, there’s been plenty of research into sleep & it’s importance for our mental & physical health. In contrast, there hasn’t been much research conducted on rest & the effect of it on our mind, brain & body.

I'm Not Lazy!

Let’s face it, taking rest can be seen as lazy. But, we need to start the conversation that rest is not lazy at all. People these days think that there are standards set for them, & everyone tries to keep up with these standards. For example people might feel they need to be going to the gym 4 days a week, or eating the ‘right’ food for their body, staying late at work…e.t.c

We are always setting ourselves goals & long to-do lists, which become a to-do list of a to-do list ( many lists!)

What Is It That Stops You From Resting?

Big things which come up in answer to this question are Time & Guilt.

In our modern lives, we all feel busier. Busier than say, the 1950’s!

I think that technology & ever-evolving tech doesn’t help with this. But hey, some people find it restful scrolling through their phone on the train to work. Me, that gives me a bad neck & hurts my eyes. I much prefer looking out of the window (not that you can see much on the commute out of the window at 7am on winter morning – but in the summer months it’s more enjoyable), or, reading a book (..I will talk more about books further down!).

I mention the phone scrolling because I think that sometimes leisure time might feel like work. You’re sat their, scrolling & suddenly a work email pops up or maybe you’re a social media manager & you’re looking at social media all day, sometimes scrolling through it in your spare time gets too much.

Let’s talk about going out with friends for example – you have to begin by organising dates, when you’ve settled on a date which works for everyone you then have to book the thing you’ve decided on together & maybe this involves obtaining a payment from everyone. This is an example of something which should be fun & some people find restful, but it feels like work.

How Can I Rest More?

Resting is good for our mental & physical health, & also our cognitive health. So, how can you rest more in your daily routine?

We hear this one a lot, but it’s so important to take breaks. The 1 hour lunch is becoming less used in work & ‘Micro breaks’ is the new thing! Employers are pushing that staff take regular 2-5 min micro breaks throughout the day

Research had shown that people’s wellbeing was higher if they had taken a micro break, & it was even more effective when the 2 min break was non-work related.

Further thoughts on this are, if you’re feeling under pressure to reach a deadline, taking a break during has been proven to be more effective than working through to meet a deadline & taking a break after.

2 Minutes Doesn’t Seem Long - What Should I Do?

Anytime away from your screen or desk is great. Pop to the toilet, walk around your office floor, make yourself a tea, make your colleagues a tea! The point is, we shouldn’t be underestimating what stopping & taking a break can do for us & our productivity.

Let’s Jump Back To Those Reasons Why We Find It Difficult To Rest..

GUILT. We feel guilty for taking time out, but, in reality, you deserve it.

Another reason is that we are “too busy”. Social media fuels this, it makes it look like people are doing things. Instagram is effectively a platform where people show off about what they are doing & how busy they are. In turn, this makes you feel guilty for not being busy.


There’s this idea flying about that busy people are better.

Silvia Bellezza researched into the notion that busyness has become a symbol of status. A series of studies, including Facebook Sally, show that the positive inferences of status in response to busyness & lack of leisure time are driven by the perceptions that a busy person possesses characteristics such as; competence & ambition, which are desired by others.

Busy people are not necessarily better, they can be rest-deprived. Advice? Slow down & take some time to rest. Your body & brain will thank you for it!

An Optimum Amount of Rest?

2/3 of people say they would like more rest.

Wellbeing tends to be higher with 5 hours rest, more than this has been shown to not be as beneficial. So there seems to be an optimum time when it comes to resting!

What Do You Define As Rest?

Everyone’s definition of a restful activity is different & that’s okay.

Reading a book, gardening, eating, socialising, walking the dog, sex..

Interestingly, the top 5 restful actives tend to be when someone is on their own.

This may be down to the fact that during these activities noone expects anything from you, people can relax & be themselves.

Rest isn’t easy though & doesn’t have to mean sitting doing nothing. Doing nothing is hard work, not many people can sit quietly in a room alone let alone find it restful. It can be that activities like spending time in nature, walking, going for a run, taking a bath can all allow your mind to rest.

Top restful activity: reading.

Why? It takes you out of your world & into the world of another. It could be argued that reading is a jump point for day dreaming. You know, those mindless reading moments.. those moments where our eyes are moving across the page but we’re daydreaming about the next holiday destination we are going to go on. Daydreaming & the resting state is good for us & is associated with higher wellbeing.

The Best Restful Activites:

Distract You

Give You Permission To Rest

Give You A Break

A Perfect Prescription?

The perfect prescription for rest is different for everyone. Find the activity which is restful for you & distracts you from things which worry your or are on your mind. Don’t feel guilty. It’s good for you. Snatch those moments of unexpected rest.

Rest is worth us striving for. Let’s open up the conversation about rest. That it’s not lazy, it’s necessary. I like this phrase that’s been used quite a bit, but it’s sure & needs to be heard: Self care isn’t selfish.