How do I navigate a Rest Day?

Hello to all my fellow overachievers out there, likely cringing at the term “rest day”. I certainly used to be that person - anxious over the idea of taking a “day off” of my plan… eating healthy, exercising, meditating, journaling, showering, working on my business, showering… the list goes on. In all honesty, taking a break from any of these self-care activities is actually necessary to be Well. Wellness in the sense of mental, physical and spiritual wellness.

It seems that every so many months I find myself in the predicament of NEEDING a rest day - which turns into a Rest Week because I am sick - rather than proactively taking one or multiple of them for myself intermittently.

Why is it that we put so much more value on work, go-go-going, bottom lines & deadlines, achievements and accolades than we do on self-care and rest?? Btw, Me = Guilty!

While the concept of the Rest Day is a separate topic from Sleep in general, which I will address in a different blog. I am here to tell you it’s ok to make rest days a Priority in your life. That’s right - a Priority! Just like your job, your family, your friends, your spiritual practice - rest should be a priority. It is the very thing that enables you to enjoy the Active lifestyle you want to and train to live!

Here are 5 simple strategies for taking rest days, what they might look like for different people in different phases of their health and wellness journey.

  1. Sleep In

That’s right, pick one day this week - likely a weekend for most of us - and just sleep in. Don’t set the alarm the night before. Make sure the shades are pulled tight. And when you roll over and see that you woke up at the same time your alarm would have woken you up, just keep laying in bed.

When a million-and-one things rush into your brain that you need to do that day - keep a

mantra/affirmation handy. “How important is it?” or “The world will survive while I rest.” or

“Rest is a Priority for me.”

  1. Schedule It

Tony Robbins says all the time, “if you don’t schedule it, it doesn’t happen.” I think that is

so true - to piggy-back on the first one of Sleeping In, you may need to actually schedule

this sleep in day for yourself.

You can also schedule a Rest Day from your workout routine. Some people train

Monday, Tuesday, REST on Wednesday and then continue their training Thursday and Friday - perhaps even resting 1 or 2 days over the weekend. Leaving it to chance, or saying “I’ll take a rest day when I’m sore…” this is problematic, especially for you high-achievers out there. Your brain will rationalize you feeling sore, or try to trick you into doing that extra class with a friend at the gym… it’s only a 4 mile hike… Schedule it, and commit to it.

The Rest Day may be from your nutritional program (within the boundaries of your

overall wellbeing)... for example, I typically do not eat gluten, not because I have a legitimate allergy, but because it generally makes me feel like garbage, swollen, and gives me digestive upset and headaches. But even so, once in a great while, I’ll eat it. Because if I told myself “you’ll never eat ____ again…” Most likely I would think about eating that very thing, obsessively, because I am human. But if I schedule that day (maybe pizza on 1 Friday a month), then it has its own built-in boundary. I know I will eat gluten in pizza on that Friday, it’s planned, scheduled, and I can stick to my usual dietary choices otherwise.

  1. Replace the habit with another beneficial activity

For example, if you are taking a Rest Day from your workout schedule. Keep that half-hour or 45 minutes blocked in your schedule for YOU TIME. Take that time to do some other type of self-care for yourself, maybe even something you wish you had more time to do. (i.e. take a bath, get a massage, meditate, read a book).

If you are taking a Rest Day from social media, replace that time with listening to a podcast or a book, getting out in nature, or meeting up with a friend for coffee.

  1. Allow yourself to experience rest and enjoy it

Again, this may require some affirmations to talk yourself into these restful activities.

“Rest is a priority for me.”

“I am worthy of sleep and good rest.”

“Rest will provide me with more energy to rock my goals tomorrow.”

It’s likely that if you haven’t been scheduling regular rest into your life, this concept will

feel uncomfortable and you may notice some slightly anxious feelings around it at first. That is definitely normal and you will be OK!

  1. Discern when you need a break

I remember a few years ago, hearing a friend tell me she had “mental wellness” days

built into her vacation time at work. That is awesome! I understand that not all employers

are so gracious and generous with paid time off. However, maybe there are ways to incorporate rest into your day even if you are at the office. So often, high achievers make a huge to-do list at the beginning of the week or the day - or heck, even just keep a running list they keep adding to… If this sounds like you, perhaps it would be helpful to schedule a day at work where you just focus on getting one thing done - instead of trying to tackle the entire list. Write down one task for the day - it could literally be making a bunch of copies you’ve been putting off - and work throughout your day to accomplish it. Be confident you accomplished both a task at your job and also giving yourself a much-needed mental break.

You are an adult, and I am confident you know the difference between feeling a bit lazy on a Friday - and downright being exhausted at your desk. The truth is, Rest is necessary, and absolutely needs to be a priority so we can feel ALIVE (Actively Living in Vitality Everyday) and enjoy longevity!

By Krystal Quagliara

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