As I came across an article in the U.S. News and World Report stating various techniques on how to motivate yourself as fall begins to roll around, it made me question the pressure society constructs to produce results and stick to a routine. As humans, healthy goals and habits are normal and encouraged. Yet, as we face a new season, sometimes allowing your body and mind to rest and recover is the most effective way to operate at our peak abilities. So, here are five tips that should help you, relax, unwind, and fully enjoy your rest days.
Beyond the positive physical health aspects, humans exercise to reduce stress, lift mood, alleviate anxiety and improve brain cognition. Oftentimes, practicing mindfulness can be equally helpful to the psyche. A recent study found that young children exposed to practicing mindfulness within their daily curriculum found results of increased self-control, memory function, and attention span. No matter your age, mindfulness is a useful tool and form of self-care that often goes overlooked.
Yes, you read that correctly. A writer at a fitness magazine is telling you to indulge. Although your mind may have immediately imagined devouring an extra-large, stuffed-crust pizza, I am inviting you to think bigger. Indulging is not just about food. It can be driving around and blasting your secret obsession with the new BTS album. It can be setting aside time to fall down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos. It can be drinking a glass of champagne on a weekday. Whatever your rest-day entails, make sure you break an unwritten rule you’ve given yourself because indulgence in moderation can refuel a mundane routine.
Resting for an adequate amount of time has the power to let your brain process information while restoring the body back to optimal function. To prioritize your sleeping schedule, the National Sleep Foundation suggests changing habits that could be affecting your precious hours of shut-eye. Many individuals focus around shifting negative personal habits, improving their sleep environment, and establishing a personal night routine. A perfect end to a perfect rest day includes prioritizing your sleep. This tip may sound like a snooze fest, no pun intended, but the worthwhile effects should hopefully leave you feeling refreshed.
During quarantine, most people have at least been on a spectrum of feeling isolated from loved ones. As you plan a day to relax and reflect, reaching out to family and friends just might be the antidote to cure an overworked mind and body. Being socially active requires more effort, yet promotes healthy wellbeing A recent study even revealed the connection between social interaction and an increase in late-life satisfaction. So that awkward zoom happy hour you’ve been avoiding could potentially aid in releasing the stresses of day-to-day living.
Take all these tips with a grain of salt, it is not beneficial to implement an array of positive changes overnight. If all else fails and your rest day does not seem to recharge your body and soul, let go of any judgments of what “should” be accomplished in your downtime. Maybe the most valuable rest day is giving your mind a break and grounding yourself in the present moment. Letting any plans and obligations subside as you simply let your embodiment be.