Sometimes life can feel a lot like a nonstop run.
Family needs, work demands, or unexpected health issues can make it feel as though you’re running up a long hill that only gets steeper as you climb.
Thankfully, you can intentionally build mental and physical breaks into the less strenuous portions of your day, similar to the way a runner “rests” while running downhill.
Use this three-step process to maintain balance and stay sane through fast-paced days.
Step 1: Know Where Your Energy Is Going
Most of us look at our days and can see exactly where our time is going, but we don’t think to consider where our energy is going. By taking a closer look at when we use most of our energy, we can begin to make incremental shifts to add in rest when we need it most.
- Get out your calendar and look at tomorrow. Mentally walk through your day and guess how you will feel, energetically, at each point.
- Highlight the times you expect to feel the most depleted.
- Note times that are easy or when you might feel your best during the day.
Step 2: Build In Rest
Nowadays, lunch breaks equate to eating at your desk while working. And 15-minute breaks? Who remembers those?
It’s time to build rest back into your schedule.
If you’re reading this and thinking, yeah, but I’ll never find the time, don’t worry. This is about shifting your focus and reclaiming simple moments that often evaporate into mental busyness. By intentionally bringing our focus to the “in-between” moments, we become present and can choose to rest. That allows us to gain a stronger sense of balance amid the craziness.
- Start a list of all the simple — even automatic — things you do every day. Some examples include taking a shower, buying coffee, walking to a meeting, or sitting on public transit. Keep this list handy and visible so you can continue to add to it. As you become more aware of these moments, you will begin to notice them more easily.
- Add the items to the stressful points in your calendar and highlight them as opportunities to pause, breathe, focus on the moment, and relax your body.
- If you come across a long period of time without any opportunity for rest, consider what you can add in. Maybe a short walk or a bathroom break?
- Create a variety of prompts to help you remember to rest in those moments — sticky notes in your car, appointments on your calendar, and reminders on your phone are all great tools to jog your memory.
Step 3: Lean Into Rest
Now that you have your list of simple and automatic things you do during the day, let’s practice resting into them. Here’s the magic: When you guide your body to relax, your mind will follow.
It may be easier to practice this with your eyes closed at first. You might consider practicing this rest when you're eating, drinking, or doing other physical movements as well. You’ll become more present in those moments and more mindful of how they affect your body.
- Move your attention to your breath. Simply notice how you are breathing in this moment.
- Notice whether there’s any part of your body that is holding tension. Invite it to relax. You can even mentally say the word “relax” or “rest” to that part of your body.
- Finish by moving your attention to the top of your head. Then invite your face, jaw, tongue, and neck to relax. Continue inviting each part of your body to relax, all the way down to your toes.
Keep practicing these steps and before you know it, you’ll be in the habit of resting throughout your days, even when it feels like you’re running a marathon.
- Rest: The Importance Of Slowing Down
- 10 Simple Ways To Relax Every Day
- Are You Sick Or Are You Stressed? 8 Tips To Relax And Feel Healthy
Photo Credit: Stocksy