Do you remember the last time you woke up in the morning feeling rested and refreshed? I believe that this is a rare memory for most of us. It seems that daily we are running a race against time that leaves us breathless and exhausted. Somehow it never feels that we are doing enough. In this rat race, rest, solitude and time out are very alien words. In a world where the constant message is to do more, the concept of rest does not seem to be given importance.
Rest includes renewing the depleted physical, emotional, mental and spiritual reserves. A psychological and emotional space where you stop, away from people pleasing, from trying to over achieve, from ‘doing’. This is the place where we are silent and shift our sense of identity from doing or being busy to simply BEING.
How can we carve this space on a daily basis?
- Put your phone on flight mode or turn it off: It is really important that we disconnect from technology on a regular basis, at least for an hour a day or for a whole day on weekends. Scrolling through social media pages and looking at the seemingly perfect lives of others at times leaves us anxious and wanting to have more. That perfect holiday, that perfect beach body and that perfectly baked three course home-made meal even when we only have time for a quick plate of pasta after work. So, it helps if we take an online break now and then.
- Read a book: Books have the magic to transport us to another world. All of a sudden we are immersed in someone else’s story and this can engulf us completely and help us forget the difficulties that might be going on in our own personal lives.
- Listen to your favourite music: There is something very special about music. A song can touch us in a very visceral, personal way. Music can be soothing, energising and healing if we tap into it on a regular basis.
- Enjoy nature: In October of last year, CNN reported that doctors working in the Scotland’s Shetland Islands were giving out ‘nature prescriptions’ as part of treatments for chronic illness including anxiety and depression. These doctors hand out a calendar, which is also available online, that encourages patients to comb beaches for shells, do some gardening or take a walk along the coast. Research does suggest that exposure to nature can decrease stress levels and boost creative and cognitive abilities.
- Sleep: Let’s not underestimate the power of having 7-8hours of uninterrupted sleep. It is really important that we turn off any form of media at least an hour before we sleep because the blue lights emitted from mobiles, televisions etc. can mess up our melatonin levels and inhibit the sleep cycle. Taking a short nap in the afternoon can also help us feel energised and refreshed.
Summer is in full swing. Most of us will be going away for one or two weeks during this time of year. However, this is not enough. We need to carve out time for rest on a daily basis. As ‘there must be more to life than simply increasing its speed’.
Anna Catania is a counsellor with Willingness. She has had a special interest in working with clients facing intimacy and sexual difficulties and runs a service for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.