Rest to Replenish – Psychology Today

The question is not whether you’ll change; you will. Research clearly shows that everyone’s personality traits shift over the years, often for the better. But who we end up becoming and how much we like that person are more in our control than we tend to think they are.
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Posted September 16, 2022 | Reviewed by Davia Sills
It’s that time of year when many of us reluctantly return from vacation and roll up our sleeves to get back to work. But as you dive back into your to-do list, it’s important to remember to make rest an essential part of your routine throughout the year. Without rest, you risk exhausting your resources and burning out. Rest, like sleep, is necessary for recharging your batteries, and just like nutrients from food, you need your vitamin “R.”
Research has shown that rest in the form of naps can reduce fatigue and boost alertness. This type of rest can improve your mental creativity and physical performance. Getting appropriate rest can also support you in maintaining a healthy weight, as a lack of sleep has been linked to increased appetite and a slowing of metabolism.
Here are some restful strategies that are relaxing and restorative.
Walk in nature. At a park or other natural setting, take a stroll. Make sure to focus your attention on what you experience with your senses—the color of leaves, the sound of birds chirping, the scent of flowers, and the feel of a breeze or the sun on your skin. Immersing yourself in nature can be profoundly revitalizing.
Write to reflect. After your nature walk, take a few minutes to reflect on what you saw and experienced and how it made you feel. You can write about whatever comes to mind and, over time, about any seasonal changes you notice. You can also use a writing technique such as a sentence stem, where you fill in the blank: “One thing that made me smile on my walk today was ___________ because ____________.”
Meditate. Regular meditation can also help you relax deeply and even get better sleep. There are dozens of guided meditations online or available via meditation apps that can help you quiet the mind, decrease your stress, increase self-awareness, and slow your heart rate.
Practice yoga. Similar to meditation, yoga can help facilitate rest. Yoga naturally activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which then tells the body to chill out. But you don’t have to twist yourself into a pretzel. Visit a local yoga studio for an introductory class, or try some simple poses to get the rest you need. You can also check out yogi and self-care resources that specifically cater to Black folks.
Tune out “noise.” What prevents us from resting? The constant ding of our phones, negative media reports, and toxic people in our lives. Turn your phone off at the end of the day or block notifications; limit news-watching or scrolling to no more than an hour; and respond to negative people when you are ready (if at all) and have gotten rest.
Have a bedtime routine. Create a restful environment by blocking light, choosing comfy bedding, and keeping the temperature cool. Get in the habit of going to bed at the same time each night and aim to get at least 7 hours of shut-eye to revitalize all your body’s systems.
Take personal days and vacations. Too many of us don’t take all of our paid time off, driven by a sense of duty or unhealthy work ethic. Take the days you’ve earned. Look at the year ahead and be thoughtful about blocking off time for your next long vacation and some long weekends throughout the year. Connecting with friends on a getaway or even scheduling your own “mental health” day can do wonders for your well-being.
Robin D. Stone, LMHC, is a psychotherapist in private practice at Positive Psychology Associates in Manhattan.
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Psychology Today © 2022 Sussex Publishers, LLC
The question is not whether you’ll change; you will. Research clearly shows that everyone’s personality traits shift over the years, often for the better. But who we end up becoming and how much we like that person are more in our control than we tend to think they are.

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