What is restorative rest? How can I balance work and rest to be more productive but not feel burnt out? Let’s find out.
As Americans, we value working hard — #hustleculture anyone? — but when we work too much it can end up hurting us as we lose sleep, time spent with loved ones, and even rest. Working more hours can appear to make us more productive, but it actually does the opposite. A Stanford University study found that productivity declined sharply when a person worked 50 or more hours per week. But what can we do to increase our productivity if it’s not working more? We rest, of course.
What is Restorative Rest?
Restorative rest is when you rest in a way that replenishes your mind, body, and soul. It’s when you effectively restore your health and well-being. When you’re not getting the rest that you need you may notice feelings of burnout, irritability, low motivation, lack of focus, exhaustion, overwhelm, and even feelings of sadness.
Researcher and consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D., wrote a book titled Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, in which he discusses how to balance work with rest. “Rest is not this optional leftover activity. Work and rest are actually partners. They are like different parts of a wave. You can’t have the high without the low. The better you are at rest, the better you will be at work,” says Dr. Soojung-Kim Pang.
How to Balance Work and Rest
Keep in mind that in order for rest to truly improve your well-being, you must incorporate it consistently. With this in mind, consider the following when figuring out how to implement it:
- Create work boundaries. There needs to be a definitive separation of work and life in order for your mind to rest. Log off at the same time each day, don’t skip your lunch break, set up one day a week where you don’t have any meetings, and use your vacation days when you need a longer rest period.
- Make a list. Your mind can get exhausted and overwhelmed with information. Help ease your mind by making lists. Each morning, make a “top 3” priorities list. Then make a to-do list of things you’d like to get done, but are not a priority. This will help you focus on what matters.
- Clear your mind. That means logging off of work, your phone, television, the news, and even anxiety-inducing texts or calls. Anything that can make your mind run a mile a minute. Set aside time each week to go without these things. Meditation is a great way to restore your mind, cut out the noise, and ground yourself. It even helps boost creativity.
- Move your body. Not only does your body restore when you get a full night’s sleep, but also when you move. Move your body every day in some way you find accessible and enjoyable. Walks are a great, easy movement to replenish your body and mind.
- Make time for joy. Making time to do things that you enjoy replenishes your soul. And life is meant to be enjoyed! So go on that beautiful nature hike, indulge in a movie and popcorn, spend time with loved ones, have a private dance party, and feed your soul.
Rest Is Productive
The best way to be productive is to make sure that life isn’t all about being productive. You don’t need to optimize every minute of every day, so set aside time to restore and replenish. Practicing mindfulness can help you feel grounded and enjoy moments of joy and rest.
If you’re trying your best and feel like you need extra support, HTP Calm is a mood support formula designed to provide herbal relaxation support, so you can get back to balance.