A lack of sleep and proper rest can make your depression and anxiety symptoms worse, or make it harder to manage ADHD difficulties. Allowing your body the rest it requires affects things such as your heart health, insulin levels, and reducing the risk of heart attack and diabetes. It also affects your ability to heal injuries, and your overall immune system. Your entire cognitive network requires rest to function as it’s intended to. It’s, uh, pretty dang important. So why do we struggle to find the time to rest and take care of ourselves?
A good night’s sleep allows our body to recover and recharge. Research suggests that it’s during sleep that we process what we’ve learned, so going without adequate rest isn’t just making you sleepy, it’s literally affecting the way your brain is absorbing new memories.
But resting isn’t always taking a nap or laying on the couch doing nothing. Though what one considers restful is fairly subjective, resting can mean doing something kind and gentle for yourself and your body. Sometimes “doing nothing” isn’t what you want to be doing. And while we usually give ourselves guilt-free permission to sleep, we tend to deprioritize acts of restful self-care because we categorize them as wants rather than needs.
Some examples of valid acts of rest are:
- Reading a book
- Sunbathing in your yard
- Listening to a podcast at the park or beach
- Taking a walk outdoors
- Enjoying a long bath
- Going to the salon
- Going to see a movie
- Enjoying a cup of coffee in a quiet cafe
- Getting a massage
- Curl up with blankets and binge a favorite TV show
Taking time to rest isn’t just important to you, but it benefits your family as well. Allowing yourself a break can improve your mood and general outlook on life and relationships. It could also set a great example for your children or other young people in your life, helping them learn early that self-care is imperative and something they inherently deserve.
The most important thing to remember is that you need rest, you just do. It doesn’t make you lazy, unmotivated, or unproductive to stop and take a little restful space for yourself. It’s time to start practicing self-compassion, give yourself permission to take care of you, and realize that your needs are just as valid and important as anyone else’s.
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