What does rest mean to you? Are you excited to get to bed early, take a nap, or peacefully sit in nature? Or does that all sound like a chore or a fantasy to you?
I have been thinking about rest for awhile now. It’s a natural part of being human to rest but for some reason it seems to be treated as optional by many. Something we can put off until later like retirement or death. I’m not the best at resting – it’s something I am working on. Winter Group (my winter coaching program) focuses on resting, finding moments of hibernation in our busy winters. But rest isn’t just for winter. Rest is an essential component to our wellbeing.
I was laying in bed thinking about this post, channeling rest energy I suppose. And I realized I wanted to write about how resting gives us the opportunity to be receptive, to receive and integrate information and also to release tension. In our daily lives we are in action mode, getting things done, moving, figuring out problems, creating. When we lay down to rest whether it’s a nap or to go to sleep it’s an opportunity to let all that active energy settle down and for us to absorb and process what we did. Do you ever get ideas when you meditate? Or when you are waking up and are in that in between waking and sleeping state? I do. Instead of working at the knot of problems in your head, rest, and see if they untangle themselves a bit. There is that saying to “sleep on it.” And there are studies that show emotions are processed when we sleep.
I have more to say about sleep – I’ll create a separate post for that. But I do want to say a lot goes on in these rest states that we may be taking for granted. I recently attended a dream workshop with Toko-pa Turner and she said all humans dream. I was struck with how connected we are with this mysterious biological process. How we can spend time with our dreams, and they might be able to help us process the events, emotions, and issues we may be struggling with.
How can you incorporate rest into your day? Just taking a break to lay day for a few moments can be relaxing and energizing. You experience gravity in a different way, your breathing shifts, maybe some of the tight spots in your back soften, and a new solution to a problem you have been turning over in your mind might surface.
Sometimes we need help to relax and rest – I do! I love the practices of Yoga Nidra, restorative yoga, and TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises). I also use imagery to help me get to sleep at night. And nature is always available to help you rest, a walk in the park, sitting on the beach, or if you are living deep in the city maybe gazing at the sky or listening to a recording of ocean waves.
If you need more reasons to add rest into your day, I recommend learning about the rest as resistance practice of Tricia Hersey of the Nap Ministry https://thenapministry.wordpress.com/. Hersey’s work is deep, challenging, and powerful.
Now, after reading all of this, I invite you to rest.