Madeleine Allen NLP Trainer and Master Practitioner
You might have seen this quote recently – “You have permission to rest. You are not responsible for fixing everything that is broken. You do not have to try and make everyone happy. For now, take time for you. It’s time to replenish.”
It seemed to resonate for a lot of people, but one person commented “I’m not sure I know how to!” Does that sound like you? If so, we’ve put together a short list of five simple ways to take a rest.
According to American sleep specialist Dr Matthew Edlund “Many of us are so busy we see rest as a weakness – a waste of precious time, but rest is, in fact, a biological need. All the science shows we need rest to live, just like we need food.”
1 – Put “Rest” on your To Do list.
If you’re having difficulty switching off, because your mind is always busy and you’ve always got a million and one things on your to do list then you’ll like this one. Some people find it really helpful to treat rest just like another task on your To Do list. This makes resting an active process, rather than passive. Instead of feeling guilty that it is taking you away from something else, it is a way to give equal value to the activity of resting.
2 – Distract your busy mind
The busy mind can often get in the way of a rest. It chatters away reminding you of all the other things it thinks you should be doing, or nags you about worries, concerns or even trivia that stops you from resting. So give your busy mind something else to distract it. For example, choose 3 calming songs, and sit still while you rest and listen to them. As you listen, really focus on the lyrics. A busy mind likes to be busy even when resting, so giving it a job to do can really help. Even better if you choose songs with insightful, intriguing or inspirational lyrics.
3 – Creative rest
You could set aside 30 minutes to do something creative. Mix a cake, or do some colouring in, or draw a picture. Fold some origami birds, play an instrument or make some hand-made birthday cards.
Giving yourself a creative activity that you enjoy is another way of resting actively as it occupies both the brain and the body. By stopping you from doing anything else in that moment, the creative activity gives you rest and recovery time.
4 – And breathe …
Simply by paying attention to the rhythm of your breathing for a few minutes, you will give yourself a break and allow some restful quietness into your day. For example, breathe in deeply, counting to four, then breathe out slowly as you count to eight. Feel the rise and fall of your lungs, and visualise the air rushing in and the oxygen passing into your bloodstream. Keeping your breathing relaxed and slow, repeat this a few times.
5 – You’ve only got 5 minutes to rest? Practise mindfulness or meditation
There is much evidence to support the benefits of mindfulness or meditation. It is possible to take as little as 5 minutes in a worthwhile meditation. And it’s very easy to do. There are many apps which can guide you through meditations, such as Headspace. Or you can find some useful videos and guides online. Follow this link to one person’s list of favourite guided meditations.
There you have it – 5 easy ways to get some rest.
And what about you?
• What can you do to give yourself time to rest?
• How else do you like to take time for yourself, and to replenish?
About Madeleine Allen: The author is a specialist in Leadership, Communication and Personal Development for business professionals. An NLP Trainer and Master Practitioner she conducts in-house corporate training (learn more at www.allentraining.co.uk) and public courses in NLP (learn more at www.nlpedinburgh.co.uk)
Book: The Power Of Rest: Why Sleep Alone Is Not Enough, by Dr Matthew Edlund, published by HarperOne