#18: Rest and Sleep

Happy Sunday, friends!  This week was a hectic one for me, but I made it through unscathed!  How?!  I made it through because I am wildly aware of the importance of both rest and sleep; and, even when life gets crazy, I am able to prioritize both.

Lots of go-getters out there claim things like, "I only need 3-4 hours of sleep, and I'm fine!"  I know; I was one of them... BUT!  Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD.  Both the quality and quantity of nightly sleep has become an increasingly prevalent topic in the wellness world, and we are working to make more people aware of it.  Seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, going electronics-free (blue-light-free!) two hours prior to sleep, black-out curtains if necessary, quiet bedtime routines (herbal tea, soft music, etc.)... these all contribute to positive sleep hygiene.  Rest, however, has yet to receive the attention it deserves.  It holds its own space of importance, and many multi-taskers try to combine the two.  It doesn't really work that way, loves.  Going from a crazy busy schedule all day long and barely finding time to shower and eat before passing out in your bed - just to check off the box for 7-8 hours of sleep - does not serve you well!

For your body, mind, spirit, and relationships (think hormones, brain, mood, communication, mental and emotional health), rest is super important!  Find time in each day (maybe during those two hours of electronics-free time pre-sleep!) to engage in restful and enjoyable activities.  These will help level out hormone levels (like cortisol, for example!), relax your body, calm your mind, and contribute to a productive day and delicious night of sleep. 

Here are a few ideas if you're feeling stuck on this whole concept of rest:

1.  reading a book for enjoyment (yes, like a real one with pages that you hold in your hands!); heads up:  reading for work, school, etc. doesn't count... that's not restful ;)

2.  meditating and/or deep breathing exercises

3.  stretching

4.  writing in a journal

5.  participating in a creative hobby (drawing, painting, knitting, dancing, etc.)

6.  taking a walk in nature.

Another note:  rest does not always have to be at night.  If you find time throughout the day to grab 10-15 minutes of restful activities, even better!  Your rest doesn't always have to be quiet either.  I love singing and dancing.  These activities are stress-reducing for me and help me tap into my true self.  I also love reading, so I do that at night to unwind.  Rest is variable, and maybe that's part of the reason people struggle with it.  Engage in things that give you a break, incite a sense of peace, make you feel like YOU... make you feel FANCY!  Also, your activities of choice should be restful to YOU.   For example, if you don't like journal writing, don't force yourself because it is "supposed to" be restful.  Remember:  WHOLE health, INDIVIDUAL health; be uniquely you.