The Importance Of “Rest Days”

In today’s hectic, fast-paced society, it can be hard to find time to take a breather and give ourselves time to rest. We’re busy with college courses, jobs, balancing a social life, getting in our workouts, spending time with family, and various other day-to-day tasks that demand our immediate attention. The innate drive to be productive, time-efficient, and scheduled can pose as more harmful than helpful at times, especially when it detracts from our ability to listen to our bodies. After all, amidst all of this busyness, how can we expect ourselves to budget time for a mental check-in with ourselves?

As I’ve explored and integrated myself into Instagram’s wellness/health-oriented community, I’ve noticed a common theme among many of the accounts I follow: The difficulty in allowing for “rest days.” Many people are so accustomed to the hustle and bustle of their every day life that the idea of taking a day to simply step back seems selfish, unnecessary, and “lazy.” I can empathize with this process of thinking because I myself struggle with feeling unproductive and “lazy” when I’m not adhering to a busy schedule of running errands, doing school work, working, and exercising. It’s hard to justify taking  a time out, especially when the thought of “I need to be productive!” keeps repeating itself over and over and over again in our heads. We fear that taking a rest day will jeopardize the progress we’ve made at the gym, that we won’t get enough done, that we’ll let others down, or that we aren’t fully committed to something if we aren’t doing it every single day.

The reality is that we all need “rest days.” Our bodies need time to repair and renew themselves so that we can be more effective on our busy, non-rest days. If we continue to keep pushing ourselves at the gym without allowing ourselves adequate time to rest, will we really be getting the most out of our workouts? Will our bodies reap all of the benefits? If we continue to schedule appointment after appointment and run errand after errand, approaching our daily lives in such a fast-paced manner, will we truly be attentive and present each day? Will we feel mentally and physically energized? The answer to these few questions is most likely to be “no.” Why? Because we aren’t giving ourselves–our bodies and our minds–the rest that they need.

Society today seems to value being non-stop busy, which can make matters even more difficult when trying to be more intuitive with our bodies. There seems to be this connotation of rest equating to unproductiveness. However, that’s the farthest thing from the truth. Rest allows for us to be more productive on days where we do have to be more fast-paced, whether it’s in class at college, at the gym, at work, or running errands. Rest allows us to show up as present, focused, and energized in our daily lives. Rest gives us time to tap into our intuitive selves and ask, “What would feel good for me right now in this moment? What do I need?” With a very busy, over-booked schedule, how can we begin to find time to ask ourselves these very important intuitive questions?

I am very familiar with the internal conflict of being busy versus taking time to rest. I can hear it in my head now: “Sure, rest sounds great, but I don’t need it.” Does this sound familiar? The reality is–as I’ve stated above–we all need rest. There are no exceptions to that statement, regardless of how your mind tries to convince you else wise. Whether you’re into fitness, a student enrolled in college courses, a stay-at-home-mom, a full-time employee–we all need rest. Every single human being needs rest from time to timeTaking a rest day will not jeopardize our progress, nor will it brand a permanent label on our foreheads that reads “LAZY!”. These are things our minds are trying to convince us of in an effort to distance us from our intuitive selves, ultimately keeping us entrenched in the cycle of “I need to be busy/productive/scheduled.”

To this day, I still struggle with tapping into my intuitive self when it comes to asking for what I need. Some days, I do need to be busy, scheduled, and fast-paced. However, there are also some days where I need to curl up on the sofa with a piping-hot mug of tea and a good novel. By allowing myself to experience both days, I’ve been able to get more in touch with my intuitive self, which helps me to achieve more of a balanced lifestyle. And guess what? Those days actually do balance each other out in the end, which helps me to see that taking time to rest doesn’t mean that I’m being unproductive. In fact, listening to my body has been very insightful and rewarding, as it allows for me to be even more effective and prepared for the busy, non-stop days.

If you’re struggling with resting, I suggest you take a moment to tap into your intuitive self and ask yourself, “What is my body trying to tell me? What do I need right now?“. I can guarantee you that you will not lose anything from taking the time to ask yourself these questions and to seek an authentic, intuitive answer. In fact, you may very well gain a greater insight toward yourself and how you show up in your day-to-day life. Rest does not equate to laziness or being unproductive. Rest is vital, rest is necessary, and rest can play a very important role in the balance of our lives.

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*Image found on Pinterest

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