Why Rest is Essential

Dr Indra Barathan

MBBS, DRCOG, DFFP, MRCGP, IFM (2018)

August 12, 2021

The word ‘rest’ is often met with negative connotations as we feel we are being lazy or selfish when we allow ourselves to take a break.  However, it is vital for our health. It is very easy to get caught up with the demands of life but at our Practice, we repeatedly recommend to patients that they stop and rest. People are innocently living in a state of constant vigilance as they strive to be better, and are forever in a state of high alert.

This has an impact on the human body. It changes the chemical composition of the surrounding cells, and this can lead to inflammation and chronic illness. As humans, we are constantly being told that we need to “do” something, not giving ourselves enough time to rest and heal. This is adding to the pressure that the body is experiencing on a daily basis.

Most times, the starting point is just recognising that we are on the hamster wheel and need to get off. Once we’ve taken the time to accept where we are, we can then begin to slow down and give ourselves permission to stop and rest, without feeling guilty.

Rest can look different to everyone.  For some, it’s creating a space of quiet. For others, it may be sitting, walking, eating, or dancing.  It’s all rest. Being in the state of flow, feeling love and connection, is rest. Being in rest is when the body is able to optimally heal, repair and digest.

The benefits of meditation have long been encouraged, along with being able to control your breathing.  These techniques help our parasympathetic system, where the body is able to rest, digest and heal. There is a fine line though, as pushing ourselves too hard to reach this state means we are not actually resting!

Allow yourself to stop and let go for one minute a day.  Notice the strife that you carry, allow yourself to explore that feeling and take note when you release it. You have the power to heal.

To ensure you practice resting, make sure you plan your “Rest Days’’. On those days do whatever your body and mind needs. No music, tv, phone, computer, books – just be alone with yourself. You can sleep, sit in your garden, eat what your body needs, write, walk and stare into space. The first time is hard because the busy mind takes over and you may start thinking about all the things you should be doing.  Once that quietens down, new thoughts and insights appear.

Once you learn to rest, not only will you begin to feel less stressed, but you will also start to notice these benefits:

  • Improved digestion
  • Better absorption of nutrients
  • Increased nutrients to support the body to produce more energy
  • Clearer mind
  • Better lifestyle choices
  • Overall improved health and wellbeing.

Enjoy your rest.