Rest. It’s something we don’t like to do. As Millennials, we face multiple obstacles that trick us into believing that we’re not doing enough. One obvious obstacle is our obsession with social media, filling our minds with FOMO as we ogle each other’s highlight reels, accepting it as normalcy instead of a carefully crafted, perfectly-tuned slice of the entire messy picture. But there are other culprits too, like navigating a career in this economy, working your ass off to pay your student loans, making time for Bumble dates so you can find the person of your dreams… Put these stresses together in a blender and you’ve got yourself an extra-large exhaustion smoothie.
If you don’t rest and take care of yourself, then more than likely, you’ll find yourself hitting a point where rest is forced upon you. When the rest came for me this time, I was in the middle of running my own business and managing a side hustle during a slow season. I was also starting a new relationship… and all of a sudden, I was in pain every day and couldn’t function—let alone work or play. I had to come to a complete, screeching halt. I was so overwhelmed that retreated to my “place of funk” once again, and I was in deep. Then one day, my dad called me and told me that no one expected me to do anything in my condition, and that all I had to do was try a little bit each day—and then use the rest of the day to REST.
My first reaction was AHHH WHAT IS THIS “REST” AND HOW DO I DO IT?
Adult Nikki was in complete malfunction. I really had to listen to my father to and grasp this concept. As it turns out, you can’t “achieve” or “accomplish” rest. Heck, you can’t conquer it either. It conquers you. (I know, tough concept to swallow.)
So here it is, overachievers. Here are my favorite ways rest when it’s finally forced upon you:
Give In to Sleep
Seems simple, right? When you’re ill, injured, recovering from trauma or even just extremely stressed out, your body craves more sleep. While you may feel like a worthless P.O.S. for sleeping until 11 A.M., your body might actually be internally jumping for joy. When you sleep, it gives your brain the opportunity to focus on all of your body’s needs without having to address the needs you have while you’re awake. This includes sending more white blood cells to attack an infection, repairing tissues and blood vessels, balancing hormones that help with muscle relaxation and inflammation, and calming stress and anxiety levels. Sleeping also lowers the demands on the heart, dropping your blood pressure and helping you reset your blood pumper for the next day.¹
So stop trying to seize the day, and just take in the few extra hours. Give into the naps. Make up for all of that whining you did during nap time as a kindergartener. (Hey, at least now you don’t have to sleep on a sticky mat!)
Perfect Your Meditation Routine
If you’re not used to regular meditation, then getting back into a routine can be a little overwhelming — especially if you’re not well. However, motivating yourself to get back into meditation can significantly improve the healing of your mind, body, and creative soul. Not only does meditation calm the mind, it also lowers blood pressure, helps you sleep better, boosts immunity, eases blood flow, and helps with your overall composure. While you may not feel the immediate effects during your yoga practice, you’ll feel it throughout the day, especially when it comes to handling stressful situations. As we all know, stress is toxic in the body and can actually hinder your healing process. For those of you whose bodies are screaming for rest, but are also in a funk, then I’ll be frank and explain that you NEED meditation. Cue Deepak:
“Meditation brings us home to the peace of present-moment awareness. It gives us a direct experience of our Spirit and in the process dissolves the impurities which are preventing Spirit from shining forth in our lives.”
Read a Book
You’ve got the time, and someone’s got a story. Take the opportunity to crack open a new book and get to reading. If you don’t know where to start, ask friends for recommendations on Facebook. Join a book club, like this one by Mark Zuckerberg. If you have a Kindle, you can borrow one free book per month from the Amazon Lenders Library. If you don’t have a Kindle, but you’re still a Prime member, you can discover new books and exclusive content with Amazon’s First Reads program, where you can buy an e-Book for only $1.99. Or, go back to the basics and hold new books in your hands by joining a mailed book exchange club. (Make sure to research the exchange that you’re a part of, as there are some scams out there!)
Take free classes with SkillShare
Ever wanted to learn how to design? Write? Speak a new language? Well if you’re stuck in bed, but have access to a computer, you can take a class to do that. SkillShare is an online learning tool that provides ins
truction on everything in creative design, business, technology, and lifestyle. Choose from over 22,000 classes that are up to date with the latest trends and skills, and finish with a “class project” to apply what you have learned. Best part? You can try their Premium Service FREE for one month. Sign me up, coach!
Listen to Podcasts
When you’re ill or in pain, getting out of bed to do simple tasks can be the most difficult part of your day. For me, listening to programming helps me take my mind off the pain and mindlessly focus on the task at hand. Turning on the television hasn’t been helpful with this, as the news can be depressing, or Netflix reruns of The Office can keep me glued to my bed. Instead, I tried listening to Podcasts.
There’s a Podcast for whichever mood you may be in. If you’re really sick, and want to listen to entertainment, there are podcasts that tell long stories like S-Town (obsessed with this one!) If you’re looking for talk show-style entertainment, there’s a wide array of Podcasts from your favorite business experts to your favorite reality TV stars (I Don’t Get It podcast, another one of my guilty pleasures… thank you Naz.) Like SkillShare, you can listen to a podcast about a specific industry and its trends or secrets (this is how I learned how to start a Blog) or you can listen to a motivational and spiritual podcast, like Life Amplified by Dan Mason. Spending time with these podcasts not only helps me when I’m at my worst, they also help improve my mood and motivation, almost as if I’m spending time with friends. If you’re looking for a Podcast, check out iTunes, iHeartRadio, and GooglePlay to see their lists and recommendations.
Besides the obvious effects that illness and injury can have on our appearance, stress and anxiety can really do a number on us as well. After days weeks and months, we can see the effects in the mirror. However, there is a way to work backwards: as they say, look good, feel good. By doing small things to pamper yourself, you’ll not only feel good about yourself, you’ll also reduce stess, increase endorphins, and even feel like being social again.
If you have downtime and can leave the house, consider making appointments that will help you look your best again. Get a haircut or new color. Treat yourself to a manicure/pedicure (MEN – this is a GAME CHANGER. Set your egos aside and let a stranger trim your cuticles and rub your feet. You’ll wish you did it sooner!) Get a massage, or have a masseuse come to your house with Soothe. Get a facial or buy masks so you can do it at home. Ladies, give yourself a makeup overhaul or get a makeover (companies like Sephora or Blushington often offer complimentary makeovers with a minimum purchase!) Buy yourself some trendy, comfy loungewear that will make you feel comfortable during the resting/healing process, but not too drab to wear to the store or pharmacy. Go ahead, engage in a little bit of retail therapy, and boost your morale as you conquer this mandatory rest period.
In conclusion, you can’t always be a powerhouse, ripping through life and conquering it all. Sooner or later, your body is going to ask for a little care in return. When you have to rest, don’t feel guilty. Instead, commit to giving yourself the rest you need to heal, and get creative with how you can use that time off. Remind yourself of the sweet stuff. Set good habits of self care and return to meditation and spirituality. Reconnect to what motivates you and recommit to learning and engaging your mind. When you come back to life after committing to rest, you’ll not only feel healthier, you’ll feel recharged and ready to live your best life. WHABBAM!