The Value of Rest

Apr 10, 2022

by Lyndsay Babcock 
Psychologist & Director – The Self Centre


“Rest is for the weak” … or is it?  How many times have you found yourself thinking “I’ll rest later”, or “I’ll rest when I’m done”, or “when I’ve just completed one more task”… or even “I don’t have time to rest”?

I think so often we don’t realise just how important rest is – it is almost as though we believe we only deserve to rest if we have been productive or active or busy. But in reality, rest is as necessary as food and water are for our bodies and minds to be well and healthy.  Rest is not a reward; rest is a right that we all have!

Now more than ever rest it is so important to prioritise REST in our every day. Working online, working from home, managing isolation and the ever-changing COVID rules and protocols.  For families there are school and after-school activities, and the increased demand for all of us to be available ALL THE TIME is making us collectively stressed and tired!

We all work hard to be efficient, productive and responsible. We are doing more now than we ever have before, and for many of us, it feels like even more on the back of lockdown life. Life is busy, demanding and often it seems as though we are in perpetual motion.

When we stay in a state of alert or ‘stress’ we run the risk of experiencing chronic stress, burn-out and increase the likelihood of anxiety and mood disorders – not to mention physical health conditions. It is important to integrate REST into our every day in a purposeful and intentional way. We must prioritise resting daily so that our body can recover, restore and be ready for a new day.

“Rest can be difficult to define because it can look different for everyone. Rest is any behaviour aimed at increasing physical or mental well-being. It can be active, such as going for a walk outside, or passive, such as taking 10 minutes to sit down and breathe deeply. Regardless of how you choose to rest, these daily behaviours can help you recover and recharge from physical and mental effort. That’s why better rest is linked to better physical and mental health.”

Rest offers our bodies so many benefits, such as:

  • Reduced stress & anxiety
  • Improved mood
  • Improved energy
  • A sense of connection & meaning
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Increased immune health
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Decreased chronic pain & health conditions

So here are my top 5 tips for integrating REST into your every day:

  1. Set up & maintain good sleep habits – get to be on time & wake up on time
  2. Reduce your online time (even 30 min less screen time /day can be so helpful for your brain)
  3. When you schedule your day, include blocks of spare time in your diary – you can use this to eat, catch your breath or just not feel rushed! Putting 10 minutes between all tasks can make a huge difference to your energy.
  4. Carve out time just for you to do something that feels restful (exercise, reading a book, sitting in the sun, talking to a friend, etc.)
  5. Breathe OUT & smile – offer yourself moments throughout the day to take 3 long breaths out and smile while you do it – this can activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is helpful when reducing fight and flight.

For more strategies and tips to help manage stress or fatigue speak to your doctor or psychologist – we are here to help!


Ref: Inegris Health 2022