When someone is training for a marathon or any regular exertion of physical exercise, any credible trainer would emphasize the importance of resting the body. If you don’t rest the body, the probability goes up for injury. Our brains run in exactly the same way. All day long most of us are doing some sort of mental gymnastics – problem solving, planning for the future, and putting out fires. Just like our bodies, if our mind doesn’t get proper rest (besides good sleep), we are likely to burnout with symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression.
Here are 7 tips to get in the habit of putting your brain to rest:
(Note: If you catch the judgment, I’ve heard of these before, check in to see when the last time you did them was. If it’s been a while, make a plan now).
- Go Out in Nature – Go out and visit nature regularly, whether it’s a forest, the ocean, a park, or by a lake. Absorb the relaxing surrounding.
- Engage a Hobby – Consider what a purposeless stress-less hobby might be. Maybe it’s drawing, painting, or working on some form of mechanics. It can be sailing, learning the guitar, or learning about horses. Whatever it is, make some space for it.
- Do a Mindful Check-in – Take a minute a few times a day to just pause and rest. Do a mindful check-in where you note how you’re feeling physically, emotionally and mentally. Breathe and let go. See the explanation of this practice through a clip of an interview at Psychotherapy Networker here).
- Read a Book – Allow this to be something you’re interested in for its sake, not something you have to read for work. Turn off the television from time to time and read for fun.
- Listen to Music – Lay down, close your eyes and just listen to music. This can be your favorite music from years ago, or set a Pandora station and just be surprised by what comes up.
- Take a Bath – Often times an overlooked favorite. If you have a bathtub, take a nice long bubble bath, put on a candle and some music if you like, just relax with a little you time.
- Count Your Blessings – This is also a good way to settle your brain at the end of the day, look back and see what in the day you were grateful for. The notice how you feel. What would life be like if this was more automatic?
These are just a few to get you started.
You may have your own ways of bringing more rest into your life. If so, share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Man relaxing in a hammock image available from Shutterstock.