When you think of the word “rest”, for most of us, one of the first things that comes to mind is usually sleep. But did you know that there’s more than one type of rest 一 and in fact, up to seven different types of it? With energy being constantly demanded of our bodies, minds, and spirits ー and, it seems, increasingly so in our always-switched-on modern world ー it is more important than ever that we also give ourselves enough time, space, and energy to recharge. Perhaps this looks like more sleep, a meditation that allows you to sink into a profoundly restful state, a deep tissue massage, a spot of mindfulness, a much-needed vacation where you can truly switch off, or daily pockets of time where you can take a break from the constant demands of your job, family, friends, partner(s), society, the news, and anything else demanding your energy and attention. Maybe it involves stress management, an emotional or physical release, or healing from trauma. Ideally, rest and recovery involves a combination of all of these things on a regular basis, for better mental, physical, and emotional health, and a more balanced, peaceful, and happier life.
In our fast-paced society, where much of our success is often defined by how much more we can do, many of us have forgotten that to find our physical and emotional balance, we must also sometimes allow ourselves to do less.
Pablo Picasso once said that art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. Everyone has their own “dust”. Yours could be the unpleasant news you read on the internet, or a micromanager who never leaves you alone. Perhaps yours comes from within – that tiny little voice that doubts your worth, or exhibits your lack of self-confidence. No matter what you’re struggling with that’s weighing you down, Picasso's metaphor suggests that art can serve as a therapeutic tool, helping you to feel better when you’re going through difficult times – that’s the healing power of art.
When it comes to rest, it’s difficult to choose which of these two questions is more prevalent: “How can I get more sleep?” or “How can I get good sleep?” As it turns out, they are both equally important ー and they are not the only types of rest we should be striving to get more of, or a better quality of. However, the key is in the word “striving”: ironically, to live more well-rested lives, we need to start doing less striving, and instead allow ourselves more time to recover, or simply “be”. What are the different types of rest we need? What are the differences between physical, mental, and emotional rest, and how can we get more of each kind? How long does it really take to truly recover from stress, trauma, or injury, and what are the different elements of rest and recovery? How much sleep do we really need? How do we practice better sleep hygiene, so we sleep more deeply and soundly throughout the night? Why do we experience insomnia, fitful sleep, or wild dreams? Are naps actually helpful, and how long is an ideal nap? Dig in to understand the science of sleep, and read about some of the best theories and strategies on how to get better rest and recovery.
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