Rest and relaxation are fundamental to our wellbeing and equally as important as achieving. But how we rest and relax is personal and unique and will inevitably vary depending on season, moment and mood. Some relax by being alone. Others prefer to relax among others. Some like to lay still and rest their bodies. Others relax through dynamism and movement. Some like to be pampered or indulged. Others by focusing and quietening their minds. Some seek silence, others like to zone out to a beat. Some bodies are restored by warmth and heat, others by freshness and cool. Some seek novelty and adventure, others prefer the stability of the familiar and routine.
Our experience of rest can be anything we want it to be. Because true rest is letting go of striving, of softening our eternal quest for perfection or validity in anyone else’s eyes; of anyone else’s judgement of who we are or how we choose to be – including our own.
So don’t listen to anyone else’s prescription of how you ‘should’ relax. Ignore the aspirational Lifestyle/Health/Business Guru BS and instead simply experiment with what works for you. If it feels effortless; if you feel relaxed and restored by it, then that’s what you need! Embrace it, relish it, celebrate and revel in it. There is no magic bullet and you don’t need to spend money or be radically inventive. When my kids were little, my go-to relaxation hack was simply to take myself away from the hubbub of family life and lie down in a dark room for 10-20 minutes (an eye mask, earplugs and the mantra ‘take this time out’ were a handy aid for this one). You can realistically expect ‘what works’ to change over time, because that’s how our bodies and minds work: no sooner do we figure something out, then things shift and we start over.
For me, in the wintertime, good quality rest means retreating to a place of sunshine, warmth, fresh air and – as a lone parent – somewhere my daughters can play freely, safely and happily, so I can allow my busy mind and body to slow down and pause for a while.