Take Rest

We live in a fast-paced world. I don't know about you, but I these days, I feel like I'm in a constant state of frazzledness (not a word; I know). Each day, I wake up with a huge list of to-dos -- for work, for home, for fitness, for cooking, for Bible study, for friends, for myself... etc. It goes on and on. I live and thrive on lists.

Sometimes, I just have to remind myself to put those lists down.

After God created the world, He took rest. If God thinks that rest is necessary for Him, it should definitely be necessary for me. I'm simply human.

When I say, "take rest," what do you think of? Literal sleep? Quiet time? Alone time? Vacation time? Off days for your workouts? Child pose?

Rest means all of those things, I think. And each of them are important. We can't just go go go all the time. We need to allow our minds to recharge just like we allow our muscles to rebuild after a workout. Work then rest. That's the way life was designed.

Sleep

As tempting as it may sacrifice sleep for a few extra hours in the day, it can be seriously detrimental to your health. Sleep is precious. According to a study done by Harvard Medical, there are many hidden costs of insufficient sleep, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, immune dysfunction, and catching colds. Insufficient sleep can ultimately affect life expectancy and day-to-day well-being. An analysis of data from three separate studies suggests that sleeping five or fewer hours per night may increase mortality risk by as much as 15 percent! That's huge!! Sleep helps your body maintain many vital functions, including the opportunity to let cells and tissues recover from daily wear-and-tear.

Mental rest

Our to-do lists and perfectionism definitely make us more productive people, but we can't sustain a level of productivity constantly without an ample amount of mental rest. This means taking time out of your day to put your lists aside and read a funny book, go for a job, sit outside alone, or read scripture. You know that you feel so much better after you've had some quality alone time, away from the demands of life, from the kids, from your task list, and even from conversation. It's not wrong to want this. You need it! Especially for those of you who are introverts like me (being around other people is fun but totally exhausting).

Muscle rest

This one should be pretty obvious, but let's go ahead and hash it out a bit. In between sets when you are lifting weights, you should take a minute or so to rest before you start your next set. Throughout your week of lifting/running/swimming you should take a day off of that activity and cross-train or rest. These times of rest are necessary for muscle growth. When your muscles are resting they are able to recuperate and repair from the hard work you put them through. How much rest you need depends on the activity and on how fast your body recovers. For more information, checkout this helpful article on Bodybuilding.com about rest and recuperation.

Within a yoga sequence, it's important to complement more strenuous poses with counter stretches that allow those strained muscles to repair and rest. For example, after scorpion or full wheel pose, it is a good idea to counter stretch with child pose or happy baby pose.

You can try out foam rollers, massages, and/or stretching on your off days to loosen up your muscles and allow them to recover from your workouts.

All of that to say -- rest is important. Allow yourself space to rest throughout your day and throughout your week.