The tempting thing to do is keep chipping away at your never-ending to-do list until everything is complete. It’s at that point you feel as though you can finally have that well-earned break. But how often do you come to realise that the work never ends? No matter how much you tick those boxes, it’s unlikely you’ll find the perfect time to rest. That’s if you keep holding that mindset.
The reality is, you don’t need to earn a break. You need rest and your productivity levels don’t dictate what you deserve. Unfortunately, this isn’t something we’re naturally good at understanding (we live in a fast-paced society after all) so I want to show you exactly why taking a rest from work is so important.
Resting means so much more than a good night’s sleep. Resting is about switching off completely and creating space for your body and mind to reset. This essential part of life often gets overlooked in our busy world but ignoring it can lead to poor mental health and physical illness. Nobody wants to add burnout recovery to their list.
Beyond preventative measures, the benefits of resting are plentiful. Not only does it help our bodies to recover from physical activity, but it also helps us stay mentally healthy by reducing stress levels, improving concentration and boosting creativity. Let’s take a closer look.
After a day of using our wonderful bodies, they need to recharge. It doesn’t matter whether you work from your sofa, traipse from meeting to meeting or hit the gym five times a week, your body needs rest. Plus, all the functions that are working hard every second of the day to keep you alive and well need the rest too.
But physical activity isn’t the only reason we need rest. Unmanaged stress (caused by both stressful events and thoughts) can make us unwell.
Our brains are responding to all forms of stress all day long. Our brains are built to protect us from threats but unfortunately, they can’t always decipher between a life-threatening danger, notifications on our phones and urgent business crises. So, factoring in days for rest will allow you to return to a more balanced state and prevent long-term burnout and illness.
If you’re constantly on the go, it can be difficult to tap into your creativity. Not only is your mind busy powering through but prolonged stress and tiredness inhibit your ability to think creatively even when you want to.
Ever had a brilliant idea while walking the dog? That’s a perfect example of how creativity flows in a more relaxed state. Therefore, it’s good to remember that rest days give your subconscious mind a chance to develop deeper insights and ideas. Whether that’s for problem solving, creative projects or eureka moments for your business, never underestimate the power of your creativity.
Although we’re discussing the topic of rest, the positive impact that rest has on productivity can’t be ignored. If you work most days of the week, you’ll want to know how to make the most out of your time and rest is there to support that goal.
It may seem obvious but resting allows your body and mind to recharge so that when you return to work, you’re more energized and ready to tackle any tasks that come your way. Plus, in a similar way to rest opening up space for creative thinking, you get the chance to step back and reflect on your work. This can help you gain a better understanding of what needs to be done, how it should be done, and how long it will take.
When you’re living a busy life, it’s easy to pick up bad habits. You might find yourself grabbing not-so-healthy convenience food instead of preparing a nutritious lunch. Or it could look like scrolling on social media at your desk instead of taking a proper break.
These micro choices in your daily routine start to add up and making them on a regular basis can have an impact on your wellbeing. That’s on top of the stress of a busy life.
By taking a rest day, you’re allowing your mind and body to catch up and recharge meaning you can return to your schedule with more energy. When you feel good, you’re more likely to make good choices.
Making rest days a weekly habit can give you a beaming sense of accomplishment. You’re proving to yourself that healthy habits are worthwhile.
The truth is, it’s hard to make choices that mostly benefit your future self. It’s even harder to make the choice to rest regularly if you’re running your own business or raising a family. But as we’ve discovered, rest days are important for not only our bodies but for our cognitive function. We can reap the benefits of improved productivity, boosted creativity, and empowerment to make healthier choices overall.
To unplug in a busy world, try incorporating one day of rest into your schedule every week. Your rest days could look like spending time in nature, getting cosy on the sofa or baking something delicious. Do something that feels therapeutic and resist any urges to make it ‘productive’ in the traditional sense. Rest is productive.