Self Care Isn’t Sexy
Self care supports your growth. And if you’ve experienced growth, you know it’s not really linear or clear cut.
It’s actually pretty messy. And self care can be too.
It’s not the sexy, Instagram-inspired trend that some make #selfcare out to be. In fact, self care looks a lot like the kind of periodic tune-up that you get on your car.
Self care is what you do to keep things running long-term. And a mani-pedi doesn’t always cut it, since they only last a couple weeks (and don’t get me wrong, I love a mani-pedi).
Rest is a wonderful form of self-care, however, and might be the most magical kind of self-care available to us as humans.
What Can Rest Look Like?
We live in a culture that values over-productivity and full calendars. There’s nothing wrong with staying busy, but everyone needs some time to slow down on occasion.
“Adequate rest helps your body activate its inner healing cascade and return to a state of homeostasis. This is when your body can repair and recover,” according to Heather Cherry for Forbes.
So if you’re panicking at the idea of taking time off for rest, please consider this first: even a little bit goes a long way. And don’t worry! There are a ton of ways to ensure you’re getting the rest you need.
Rest is rejuvenating, and by taking the time to chill, we can activate some of our body’s natural healing processes by just giving it time to reset. Getting a good night’s rest ensures that your body recuperates from the day’s activities — sleep helps to heal your body at the cellular level, in fact, and strengthens your immune system.
Everyone should start with getting enough sleep, if we want to feel fully rested. Most of us humans need about 7 or 8 hours. “Deciding how much sleep you need means considering your overall health, daily activities, and typical sleep patterns,” according to the Sleep Foundation.
Don’t wait until you’re exhausted and shut down completely — take time off before you burn out. Even if it’s just an afternoon, give yourself time to breathe and relax. We aren’t meant to be machines, constantly working and producing.
We need breaks! And it might be helpful to ensure that you get those breaks by scheduling them into your calendar.
Making space in your day for rest sends a message to your brain that it’s a priority. It might also help to actually schedule your sleep — or include time for a nap in your afternoons. Sometimes just lying down after work for ten minutes before jumping into the next thing is helpful. (Naps can be powerful, and The Sleep Foundation categorizes them into a few different categories, which I didn’t know about.)
Remember, rest is restorative! Make time for this throughout your day and I bet you’ll start to notice a difference.
Creating Consistent Space for Rest in Your Life
There are a few ways to ensure you get the rest you need, and it’s really all about clearing your space and mind, so that you can rest (or even hibernate) how you need to.
- Clean up your room and remove clutter in the space before you take a nap or lie down for bed.
- It can help to bring more meditation into your day. Meditation gives us (and our brains) the space and time to rest like we need to. If you have a hard time focusing and staying quiet, a guided meditation might help.
- Get a friend to hold you accountable. Enlist a pal who will help you see when you’re about to burn out. Check in with them every week on your overall energy levels.
- Start a reading habit. Sitting down with a good book is a great way to relax and escape. I’m always reading something, and love the quiet times that I get when I’m reading. Check out my resources page if you want recommendations!
- Go on more walks, which might help to wear you out a bit and process some of your thoughts.
- Start a journaling practice, which will create space for more mindfulness in your life.
Finally — just be consistent! You don’t have to figure it all out at once, but doing something that supports your rest everyday is a great place to start. It’s the small steps that add up everyday, over time, that make a difference. Using a few of these tips can help to support that consistency and your well-being overall.
Self care isn’t perfect, and it’s certainly not sexy. But it’s a surefire way to support your growth.
Need some support for your own practice of rest? I’ve got three different sleep meditations with Rest in the Flow of Love the most popular one as well as a self care meditation you can listen to when you need it.