You can learn how to rest without feeling guilty. What is it about feeling guilty for resting, anyway? I hear it all the time. Everyone is so busy. You can’t slow down and when you do, for some reason you feel guilty.

Learn how to rest and feel good about it.

Not only is it important to rest, but it’s important to engage in restful activities. Sure, you may have the 8 hours of sleep down. But, what types of restful activities are you engaging in?

You will know if they are restful by how you feel. Meaning are you feeling stressed out most of the time or do you feel rested? Do you rely on caffeine and sugar to get through the day? If you answered yes, then it’s time to make some changes.

Your mind and body will thank you. Your friends and family will also thank you. When you are stressed out you are more irritable. You are also more prone to disease.

Stress is the number one killer in America. You don’t have to end up being a statistic. The good news is you can learn how to rest and feel good about it.

Here are 7 ways to learn how to rest:

  1. Have a moment of mindfulness. This is about staying in the present. Being aware of your thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations and surroundings moment by moment. This also means taking time out of your day for yourself to meditate. I recommend starting with 10 minutes. You can meditate in silence or do a body scan. This doesn’t mean that you are doing nothing. You are doing something for you mind by giving it rest.
  2. Read a good book. Studies have found that reading is one of the most restful activities. If you have a hard time getting motivated to read, join a book club to help keep you on track. You can read anything. Just make time for it. If you are in a relationship read a book with your partner. This will give you a lot to talk about.
  3. Listen to music. This is one of my favorite restful activities. I have enjoyed listening to music since I was a child. In the middle of the day I will stop and listen to some of my favorite songs. Sometimes I sing along. This is especially helpful when I am feeling overwhelmed and like I can’t make it through the rest of the day. You can also listen to music in the morning or when you get home. Instead of listening to the news in your car turn on a new song. You will feel better and more rested.
  4. Spend time in nature. Spend time connecting with the outdoors. Go for a hike on a nearby trail, spend time at the ocean, or go for a walk in the park. If you can’t do those things spend time in your backyard. If you don’t have one buy a plant for your house. Connecting with nature is important for you mind. You need the sunshine and fresh air, as well. Touch the sand or the trees. Don’t worry, you won’t get dirty. This will help you connect with nature.
  5. Do nothing and spend time being alone. When was the last time you looked at your calendar and you had nothing scheduled? This fast paced world can be demanding. You may feel guilty if you aren’t doing something. If you believe that, your mind is telling you a lie. You are not a machine and you are not meant to go all the time. Go easy on yourself and put the breaks on. By doing this you are conditioning your brain to rest.
  6. Spend time daydreaming. This doesn’t mean spending time stuck in your head with negative thoughts. This means spend time dreaming. Remember, when you were a child and you would spend a lot of time day dreaming. You didn’t have a list of reasons as to why you couldn’t dream or do something. Let your mind wander like a child. Even if the dream may seem to high to reach still spend time dreaming about it. Come up with all the reasons why you can do it, rather than why you can’t. See what you come up with. The results may amaze you.
  7. Light a candle. Even if you are doing something, you can still light a candle. This will help create a relaxing environment. You will feel your mind and body relax. Sometimes, when I am writing in my journal I light a candle. This always helps me relax. This is also a time where I turn of my cell phone. This is a great way to unplug.

You might be thinking this isn’t possible. If that is the case, then take a look at your mindset. When did rest stop being a priority in your life? Are you letting others define how you spend your time? Meaning your partner, co-workers or supervisor?

Remember, this is your life and you have a say in it. Making time for rest needs to be a priority in your life. If you don’t start to make rest a priority in your life, it will lead to burn out. Start with one of these activities today.

If you liked this article, there are more in Taking Care Of Yourself. You will find many articles with tips on how to slow down and rest

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA (and through Telehealth) who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on to learn more about her services and expertise.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.