Rest. What does that word mean to you? I recently returned from an extended weekend of rest. We live in a busy world and I am one of the busiest in it. Or at least that is the way I feel most of the time so rest is something I am often longing for in my busy days. My extended weekend was in the mountains, surrounded by fall colors, rolling hills, a roaring river and the sound of wildlife. Just typing that sentence prompts me to take a deep breath and experience a moment of rest. My weekend of rest included sleep, quiet time, walks in nature, lazy moments in my hammock, reading, baking and fishing. What does rest look like for you? When I think of rest I think of the well-known phrase: Self Care. It is something that is constantly being preached in the field of counseling and counselor education. What does self-care look like for you? Below are a couple of tips to consider when creating space for rest in your life.
Create a healthy work-life balance. Working an 8 or 9 hour day and then coming home and putting in a couple more hours of work before bed and a few more here and there on the weekends does not create space for rest. Learn to leave work at work so that you can truly enjoy your time at home whether that is alone time, time with your partner, your family or your pet!
Turn off the screens! Most of our jobs require screen time during the day. Do you ever leave work and feel so drained just from starring at your computer screen all day? I know I do. Begin to form habits of turning of the screens by a certain time in your evening and spend time doing something else. You could use that time having meaningful conversations with your loved ones, journaling and reflecting on your day, meditating or spending time in prayer, reading or playing a game with your family. Whatever you choose to do, just make an effort to turn off your devices and create space for rest and renewal.
Be creative. Many of us have desires and hobbies but often to not take the time to hone in on them. Give the left side of your brain a break and turn on your right side every so often. Engage your creativity and watch your stress melt away in the process!
Establish priorities. With so much on our to-do list all the time it is really important for us to know what our priorities are. Most of the time if you ask someone what one of their top priorities is they will say their family. However, the time they spend with family vs. work does not always reflect that. Take time to create a list of your priorities and begin to make some positive changes in the way you use your time.
Get moving! When talking about rest you might not think exercise would be on the list. However, studies show that when we take the time for just 30 minutes of exercise a day that we will often sleep better and in turn feel more rested! With busy lives it can be hard to find the time to exercise. Do not over complicate this. If you do not have time to go on a jog in the morning or head to the gym after work then go on a walk over your lunch break or climb the stairs every couple of hours throughout your day. Engaging our bodies in these ways helps to eliminate stress and create space for rest.
The more we take care of ourselves the more rested we will feel. Personally, I know that when I leave out any of the things listed above I feel less rested and less human. However, when I take the time to create balance in my life and I take care of myself, I feel more rested and more energized to tackle my busy life!
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