How to Relax and Feel Well-Rested

how to relax

One of the keys to good mental health is our ability to maintain our vitality. That is, doing things that keep us energetic, active and robust. While, in achieving that goal, our primary focus is usually on eating right and moving our bodies, we often neglect a significant aspect of boosting vitality, and that is the way we rest and relax.

It seems, most of us, more than ever, have forgotten the art to relax and get ourselves some rest. With so much to read, watch and do, in such a limited time, engaging mindfully in a hobby or doing that breathing exercise, seems a waste of time. What about sleeping for eight hours? No way, there are so many successful people running corporates just on 4 hours of shut-eye, after all. In this fast-paced world, who has that kind of time, and what if, while you are relaxing, your competitor, who is not, takes over you?

It’s unfortunate, how we have been conditioned to feel guilty to take a break, take things slowly or not working hard enough to achieve greatness, even if it leads to burn-out or other mental health issues like anxiety. No, we just can’t stop!

In our quest to be the best, to do everything and be more informed than everyone else, we forget that not giving ourselves regular breaks and a chance to rejuvenate our mind, we are, in a way, countering our productivity and quality of life.

From excess levels of stress hormones like cortisol, high blood pressure and heart rate to poor concentration, weak memory, and weight gain, lack of rest can present many physical and mental health challenges, in the long run.

We need regular periods of no arousal and no tension to function our best. And that can be achieved by enough downtime and engagement in hobbies which refresh our mind.

Difference between Rest and Relaxation

The terms rest and relaxation may seem interchangeable, but these are two different states.

Rest happens when we stop all the activities and decide to get some sleep or a nap. This is the time when we restore our strength, and the body repairs itself. This is the time to be nourished, involuntarily.

It’s a good idea to be aware of the stress indicators that our bodies give and take some rest. It doesn’t mean you are weak or lazy; it just means you take care of yourself.

Relaxation occurs while we are active and wide awake. In short, when we engage ourselves in such activities which bring us calm or mild pleasure in such a way that reduces our current state of stress.

Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, meditation and pursuing hobbies are some useful and scientifically proven ways to relax. More on that, later. Before that, let’s see how we can feel well-rested after sleep, below.

How to Take Rest

Taking rest is all about getting sound sleep for at least seven hours or so. As our bodies need food daily, we must aim to prioritise sleep and afternoon naps every day, as well.

When we sleep, the body does the fixing of muscles, cells and organs. It is the time when the immunity system is strengthened; the waste pieces of information which you come across during the day are discarded away; a chemical called GABA is produced which quiets the “arousal centres” in the brain which ultimately makes us calm and feeling refreshed when we wake up; our hormones are regularised, especially the ones which have an impact on our growth and hunger; the heart and blood vessels relax as blood pressure lowers during deep sleep.

Not taking the time to get enough sleep would make you prone to several health issues such as depression, seizures, low immunity and hence, more chances of infection, heart ailments and diabetes, among others. Also, a lack of sleep may impact your brain functioning impairing its ability to take in new inputs and processing them, resulting in errors and poor focus during waking hours.

Many of us understand the importance of sleep and do try hard to get a restful night but often fail to feel rested when we wake up.

Here are some tips to sleep better at night:

Having trouble trying to sleep at night?

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