Rest: A Form of Self-Care.
The end of the working year can often leave us on the edge of burnout. Whether you’re coming up to the busy Christmas period at work, mid-year exams or planning an elaborate Christmas Day with the whole family, we can all agree that prioritising self-care is essential. Just when you’re about to lose control of it all, an emergency massage, nail and hair appointment can leave you ready to take on the world.
Whilst aspirational content may tell you that a Cinderella-like transformation achieves the best self-care, this is all an illusion. Much like the fairytale, when the clock strikes 12, you are back to the same overwhelming, stress-inducing situations that had you feeling less than your best.
Don’t get us wrong, we love an impromptu shopping spree as much as the next girl, but (unfortunately!) this isn’t a lasting solution to all of life’s woes.
So what will create the long-lasting relief we desperately need to prevent the onset of repeated or continual burnout? The answer is – rest!
In her book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith highlights the 7 sacred areas each of us needs to experience rest to unwind. These are physical, mental, emotional, sensory, creative, social and spiritual rest.
It seems so simple, but on evaluation of your schedule, your responsibilities and your priorities, you may be surprised to see how much you’ve neglected rest in at least one of these areas. Without rest, we are not only vulnerable to a host of physical problems such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes but also mental disorders such as chronic stress, anxiety and depression.
So here are some small but exciting, less traditional self-care remedies centred around rest that you can do to start feeling the restorative effects.
Creative rest: Do you spend your days making decision after decision and solving problems? Whether working a high-paced job or raising a family, many of us end up struggling with brainstorming and innovating. The best way to combat this is to let your creative juices flow.
Art 4 Fun in West Hampstead is an art lover’s dream, where you can release your inner Picasso painting ceramics starting at just £13. Bring along food, drink and friends for a fantastic afternoon out.
Sensory rest: An iPhone alarm, a Team’s phone call and the sound of car horns blaring – just reading these things triggers irritation in the best of us. Spending your days consumed by the flashes of computer screens and jarring ringtones leaves your brain with no time to rest.
Take some time to unwind from the sensory overload whilst floating in a dark pod filled with water and Epsom salt at Floatworks. Float therapy relieves everyday life stressors and is scientifically proven to improve sleep and anxiety.
Social rest: Social rest is the rest we experience around life-giving people. You may find yourself in the habit of saying ‘yes’ to people and activities you’d rather skip.
Try what we like to call a no-contact hangout. Set up a date to enjoy the presence of your favourite person with an activity you love involving little to no small talk. Curzon cinemas are the perfect spot to enjoy time alone together. They have great bargains on weekday films at only £5 for those under 25. Removing the pressure to interact allows you to emit and enjoy the energy of those you’re most comfortable with.
Physical rest: There are two elements to physical rest, active and passive. Passive rest is experienced through high-quality sleep, but active rest targets your body’s aches and pains. Yoga is a great activity to get away from a desk chair, stretch and experience active rest. It improves circulation, flexibility and mindfulness.
Give puppy yoga a try! Pup-tails in Finsbury Park adds an adorable twist to your typical yoga class by including furry friends and bottomless Prosecco, all for £40pp.
Spiritual Rest: A lack of purpose as you walk through life will always leave you feeling lost. Engaging in your spiritual life is essential to feel connected and renewed. From daily journaling to prayer, there are many ways to enhance your connection to something greater.
One interesting idea to becoming involved in the community is to identify a personal experience you struggled with and become the person you needed. Pick your specific expertise, find a venue to volunteer and offer free advice. A fulfilled mind is a rested one.
Mental rest: As life picks up and adulting comes into full force, you may find yourself on a non-stop mental ride of ideas and to-do lists. It may be time to stop the free-flow narrative in your mind, give social media a break, and slow down.
We love an electronic free staycation to disconnect. Tillingham, an adult-only, natural wine retreat in East Sussex, is the remedy we recommend for our soft-life babes to reset their thoughts and regroup in the beautifully scenic countryside.
Emotional rest: An average day can see us adapting to corporate standards at work, perfection standards online or experiencing difficult times alone. It can be hard to find somewhere to bring our whole selves and process the emotions we experience.
Let the good girl go and release your inner emotions by breaking everything from plates to laptops in a controlled space. Although we can’t all walk through the streets with a baseball bat like Beyonce, Smash Space UK lets you get a little taste!
In a social media age society centred around hustle culture, the idea of rest can easily be associated with laziness, lack of drive or failure. The attitude of the masses is to forfeit rest now in the name of building towards some future reward that will grant us wealth, status and respect. But we fail to realise the vitality of rest in the process. So, always remember that, as Plutarch, the Greek philosopher said, “rest is the sweet sauce of labour”!