Summer is almost upon us. And for some of us that can mean two things: vacations or stay-cations. Either way, it is a time to prioritize rest and relaxation. 

You probably just rolled your eyes if you work a 9-5, run a business, or are a stay-at-home parent whose children will be constantly at home soon. You’re thinking: “who has time for that?” Actually, you do. 

Let’s dive into the easy ways you can incorporate rest & relaxation into your busy schedule. 

A-Always make time: as daunting, and overwhelming as your schedule may seem, the truth remains that there will always be something to do. There will always be something that requires your specific attention or skill set, whether at home or work. 

This is why you have to make time for rest. If you keep waiting for free time, it may never come. 

  • How to get started: 
  1. Grab a pen and paper, or the notes app on your phone or computer, and draw out your schedule. Looking at a physical representation of what your daily activities look like can help you think and plan better.
  2. Circle out the hours, days or even moments, where you have less work.
  3. Decide to make the most of the time, no matter how short; your body, mind, and spirit will be better for it.

B-Believe that you deserve it: more often than not, we see rest as something that should be earned, and observed only after a heavy task has been ticked off our to-do list. But the challenge with that is we keep going even after the task has been accomplished, because we feel we haven’t achieved enough yet to be sleeping, taking a vacation, or taking time off to watch a movie. It’s almost like you’re on overdrive. Unfortunately, your body can only take so much. Eventually, it’ll break down.

So stop. Breathe and say to yourself: “I deserve rest so that I can come back better and stronger”. And no, you’re not selfish for thinking so. 

C- Curate activities: this is the part that most folks find confusing. They wonder: “So what will I do with the free time?”. Anything! You can decide to take a nap, start a new TV series, read a book, try a new recipe (there are some who find this relaxing), or visit with friends and families. Even if you’re at work, maximize the 30 minute break. 

You can also decide to treat yourself by visiting a spa for a well-deserved pampering session. Whatever you want is totally okay, provided your mind is at ease while at it.

D: Dedicate yourself to seeing it through: high productivity is valued in our society (which is a good thing), so even after the decision has been made to rest, guilt can slip in. However, like the biblical Lot’s wife, don’t look back. Everything and everyone will be fine. Think of it as a necessity. Even machines require time to rest so that they can function maximally. You need to intentionally refuel and rejuvenate, so that you can return to your activities feeling refreshed.

E: Explain to no one: the onus lies entirely on you what to do with the free time you have created. So feel free to not explain to anyone the reason you treat yourself to a bucket of ice-cream every two Saturdays in a month. Or why you take a power nap during the 30 minute lunch break at work. Or why you pay a certain amount for a facial or deep tissue massage every Sunday. 

F: Fall in love with rest: Make rest a habit. Build a schedule that allows for time to unplug, and recharge.

“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”

Barbara Jordan

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