10 Surprising Hacks to Help You Rest Better
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Have you ever had one of those days… you know the ones where you LITERALLY do nothing. The days where there isn’t enough motivation in the world to get you to write a blog or record a video? Yeah I thought so. Me too! 😉
I had one of these awful days right after Thanksgiving this year. I was so completely worn down that I couldn’t make myself move. Now, mind you my days have not been all rainbows and sparkles, but I am alive and breathing, healthy, and surrounded by loved ones, which (in my book) makes it a good day!
To be honest, after the last 6 months I have had, I deserved a few days off, but even still…
Most of the time these sort of days seem to lead to a certain self-loathing that plagues me at 2 am with the “you should have’s” and “why didn’t you’s”
I have learned to silence these lies with some cold hard truth…
“I am NOT a freaking robot!” I will yell at my brain as I sit in bed with my adorable tiny human, Rael, and watch 2 full seasons of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman… and eat all the Halo Top Candy Bar Ice Cream. That usually shuts my guilt up for a while.
Don’t play, I know you have said that sort of thing to yourself also!
We all do! In today’s society, we are expected to be connected all the time. “It is a blessing and a curse”, as Adrian Monk so famously put it all those many years ago.
So, the question is how do you conquer the unhealthy thoughts and settle down for family and friends? Here are my 10 favorite hacks!
1. Get Your Blood Pumping
OK, so really I am the last person that will tell somebody to go for a hike most of the time. However, I have come to really believe in the benefits of a good sweat. I have been working really hard to work out on a regular basis. There is just something about getting your blood flowing and your heart rate up that makes all the difference in my day. Not to mention I actually sleep better at night because I am so worn out after exerting myself at the gym in the morning and going hard all day. Come bed time, I am seriously ready to get some sleep! If working out is as hard for you as it is for me, try and literally bribe yourself.
2. Watch a movie you LOVE (and have seen a few times)
I love to watch a movie. You can call me a movie buff if you want…but really a good story always helps me unwind. The intrigue, the mindless relaxation, and the joy of sharing it with someone else makes movie watching a great option for a relaxed day. Sometimes I actually pull my daughter into the mix (we are Lord of the Rings die-hards). Somewhere in between the misty mountains and the land of Mordor, my complete exhaustion will take over.
3. Find Something FUN and Creative to Do
One of my favorite restful activities is to color… yes color in a coloring book with colored pencils. It relaxes me to make something patterned and make my time mean something. I also love to write from time to time (as in I have been working on a novel for about 8 years now and have 3 chapters! haha!). Why should it be something creative? Because when you are resting, that is what will naturally start to come out. A day off causes your mind to gain the freedom to invent and think and clear out clutter. I find my days off tend to be really filled with ideas and inspiration. This is the literal version of take time to smell the roses. Allow yourself to get bored. Its healthy for you. Imagination is the most important muscle in your mind, without it you are just stuck in a rut. If you have been feeling stuck it is likely because you need a good proper day off.
4. Tell Your Brain It’s Time to Rest
Trust me, I know how hard convincing your brain to rest can be. But laundry… and dishes… and deadlines… WILL ALL BE THERE TOMORROW. The only thing that makes your life work is YOU. You need to take time off and take care of you. When you first start drawing boundaries, everything will test them. Your boss will call, the kids will cry, and you will likely get sick. I literally told a friend of mine that they needed to take a day off on thanksgiving of all days. They laughed and said I will rest when I am dead. They promptly called me the Monday after thanksgiving to let me know they had been laid up on the couch all weekend. I laughed and said, “Funny how our bodies revolt when we don’t obey, isn’t it?” I am telling you now they lost more time being sick than if they had just taken the day off!
5. Tell Your Spouse and Kids No
Sometimes those we love most can be our biggest challenge when it comes to taking a day off. It feels like the tasks and requests never end. You have to teach your kids to be self sufficient. My 11 year old asks me for very few things each day. She is fully capable of making herself some mac and cheese or a PB&J for lunch. Teach your kids how to do things for them selves. Tell your spouse what your expectations are for that day and ask them to help you have a day off. In turn, help them take time off too. We all need rest. As a side note, make sure everyone knows what day your day off is so that people begin to realize there are boundaries around your life. It also intentionally makes your time worth more money when you are working because you have limited amounts of it. If people want to talk to you, they have to make a appointment and pay more than the next person.
6. Put Your Phone on Silent
Yes silent… not vibrate, not quiet ring… silent. People will need to be trained to leave you alone. I am chronically unavailable. It makes me better at what I do though. When people try and get up with me, I politely let them know when I do or do not have time to talk and hear them out. If they are clients they take higher priority. If they are family they are highest priority. Thats right, not everyone has equal unfettered access to me. If you want to talk to me, you have to fall into the proper order of things. Not everyone has earned the same level of access to me as other people. So my phone goes to silent and I check it twice a day for emergencies only. “If it ain’t broke or bleedin’, it can wait” is what I say.
7. Plan ahead
Part of taking a day off and being successful at it is making sure you plan in advance. The first few weeks of this are going to be hard. No lie. You are going to have to train your brain not to see all the things that normally drive you crazy. Messy house? Clean it tomorrow. Deadline coming up? Plan to get as much done before our day off. You can not afford to procrastinate. It’s your day off on the line.
8. Make Plans
These are the other types of plans for a day off that help make your rest successful. Plan something simple that you are looking forward to. I know it seems counterintuitive, but if you have something small to motivate and inspire you, you will find it easier to take the day to rest. Plan something that will not take all day to do. Go do that, and once you are home again sit down with a good book or something to watch…and make your life about you for once.
9. Tell Guilt “Nope…”
You have nothing to loose by taking a day off…and everything to gain. Taking a day for yourself is a really underrated way of keeping your mental sanity in tact. If you need some time away, make plans for it. Take the time you need! Even if you are an extrovert, taking yourself out for a well deserved solo coffee or just taking the time to get bored and by virtue of being bored, getting creative, this will help you to actually be better at what you do. Guilt has no place in this equation and you need to let you mind know that…for sure and in no uncertain terms.
I know you are thinking… “I am not 5 years old!” However, coloring IS amazing for relieving stress and guess what… I even made a Christian coloring pages that are printable and you can use them to actually rest and unwind. Check out the blog post where I talk about the benefits of coloring here!
Well that’s all for me today. What do you do to unwind on your day off? Or are you a chronic grinder? Leave your advice in the comments below!