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Importance of Finding Your Rest

Updated: Mar 9

Importance of Finding Rest

We are living in the restless working era

It is Sunday evening, and you are already feeling overwhelmed by the thought of going into work the next morning. You feel anxious thinking about all the emails that are waiting for you and all the meetings that are scheduled throughout the week. Unfortunately, too many of us can probably relate to the relentless grind of work and the stress of working long hours. This life style has become the norm especially in today's society just to compensate the cost of living.

Recent statistics have indicated that Americans are working longer than ever before. Of the extreme jobholders, 48% say they are working an average of 16.6 more hours per week than they did five years ago. That finding is consistent with other studies of the expanding workweek, including, most recently, one by Peter Kuhn and Fernando Lozano of the National Bureau of Economic Research. (Among college-educated men working full-time in the United States, Kuhn and Lozano report, those putting in 50-hour weeks rose from 22.2% to 30.5% between 1980 and 2001.) Vacations, meanwhile, seem to be shrinking. Among the extreme-jobs crowd, 42% take ten or fewer vacation days per year—far less time off than they are officially entitled to—and 55% claim they have had to cancel vacation plans “regularly (Harvard Business Review). This concept of “hustle culture” has been prominent in our modern workplace culture. It is this notion that centers around the idea of emphasizing working intense long hours to achieve your ideal success with no regard to selfcare. However, longer working hours without selfcare will have significant negative ripple effects on mental and physical health.

What effects does overworking have in our life?

Overworking limits people from being with their families, enjoying hobbies, connecting socially with friends, unhealthy diet and inadequate exercise, and poor stress management skills. Stress from overworking is also a main cause of spike in your cortisol levels, which is the main stress hormone that impacts your level of concentration, heart condition and many other health complications.

How do you prioritize rest in your work setting? Many people prioritize work and perceive rest as something that happens if time allows for it. People that do not get adequate amount of rest inevitably experience exhaustion, which influences their productivity and the quality of their work.

There are different techniques that we can implement to improve your work-life balance immediately. You can be better at setting boundaries with worktime. Decide how much you want to accomplish each day and be firm about when your day ends. You can create a routine for self-care daily. Schedule walks with friends, go for a bike ride, join a yoga class, you can be creative with different activities that help with stress management. Sleep, on the other hand, is a body-mind state in which individuals experience sensory detachment from our surroundings. Sleep is an essential function of the body and impacts every system from our cognitive function to immune health. Quality sleep can help us reset, recover and recharge. It’s absolutely vital to brain function, memory, concentration, immune health and metabolism. Unlike rest, sleep is something your body cannot function without. In fact, if you are sleep deprived, your body will force you to sleep, no matter what you’re in the middle of. 

woman sitting on a bench relaxing at the forest

How do you define your rest?

Now let’s talk about rest. There is no specific way to define rest and rest can appear different for different people. Rest can be anything that allows a person to improve their physical and mental health. For some people it can be active, such as physical exercise or meeting up with friends, or rest can be inactive such as doing a meditation exercise or sleeping. Despite how rest might look for different people, there is a clear indication that proper rest is a vital part of sustaining physical and mental health.

Rest can be difficult to define because it can look different for everyone. Rest is any behavior 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 behaviors 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 and relaxation tips

If left untreated, long-term stress can cause chest pain, headaches, digestive issues, anxiety, depression, changes in sexual desire and inability to focus. It may not seem like a big deal to skip relaxation in your daily routine. However, there are several benefits to daily rest and relaxation:

  • improved mood

  • decreased blood pressure

  • chronic pain relief

  • improved immune health

  • stronger cardiovascular system

So, how can you better prioritize rest? Find small ways in which you can incorporate rest and relaxation into your daily routine. We make time every day to eat, take our kids to school, do errands and go to work. Why should rest be any different? Start by finding a relaxation technique that works for you. This could be meditating, practicing yoga, walking outside, listening to music, reading a book, taking a bath or any combination of these things. When planning out your daily routine, find a consistent time to rest. For example, you could take a relaxing bath before bed, practice meditation each morning or go for a short walk during your lunch break at work. 

Tips for getting better sleep

In addition to daily rest and relaxation, it’s recommended that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night, but quality is just as important as quantity. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is the most restorative of the five sleep cycles. At least one-quarter of your sleep should be spent in the REM cycle.

How can you ensure that you get enough quality sleep each night? Here are a few tips.

  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.

  • Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends.

  • Set your thermostat between 60 and 70 degrees at night.

  • Avoid napping during the day.

  • At least one hour before bed, swap screen time for a relaxing activity such as reading, bedtime yoga or a relaxing bath.

  • Exercise is important, but avoid working out late in the day, if possible. (Integris Health)

maintenance signs

Anyone and everyone can benefit from simply taking time to rest and relax during your daily routine. Our body is a vehicle that we operate to meet the demands and expectations of this journey of life. We have numerous responsibilities that demand our attention in our workplace, family matters, and relationship with others. When the check engine light comes on in your car, you will take your car in for maintenance immediately to fix possible complications with your car. What happens when we ignore the check engine light and continually drive? It will mostly likely breakdown and it will cost you a lot more money to fix your car. Are we ignoring the warning signs that our body is telling you to slow down? Let's not ignore our physical and mental health signs.


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