The winter season reminds us of rest. This is a time to turn within and tend to our roots — nature, in the Northern Hemisphere, is nudging us towards rest. And yet, it's never been harder to make time to rest or to have the kind of rest that is radical and restorative, not numbing or dissociative.
Rest is imperative.
It's what we need to function.
It's how we stave off burnout.
Rest must be part of the creative process: mind/body/spirit.
Studies have shown how important it is to simply let our minds wander.
Without rest, our intuition flees and certain needed sparks flicker out.
Our culture talks about rest constantly: so much so as of late, it feels like a collective obsession. Rest is Resistance, Tricia Hersey reminds us. Arianna Huffington and Andrew Huberman walk us through the science behind sleep and how to practice good sleep hygiene. We know we should: sleep more, scroll less, and carve out time.
But why is it so hard?
Why It's So Hard To Rest
3. We aren't engaging in radical, restorative rest. Most of us are sensorily exhausted. A distracted mind craves more distractions, a distracted mind creates exhaustion, and the cycle continues. Scrolling isn't rest. Socializing isn't always rest, either. There are different aspects of our life that may need a rest. Finding out what they are—whether it be physical rest, mental rest, emotional rest, or spiritual rest—and tending to those, over time, is what will ultimately help restore you.
If you feel seen with any of the above, below are some suggestions on how to practice radical rest this season and beyond.
How To Rest:
Easy ways to practice radical restorative rest
2. Titrate rest. If rest feels activating, start small. Can you rest your eyes or lay down for 5 minutes? Download our rest meditation; it's about 9 minutes. Or take small, intentional times during your day to stretch, practice some rounds of breathwork, or close your eyes, relax your jaw, and massage your temples.
3. Find forms of active rest. Sometimes, you don't need to take a nap: you need to stop looking at a screen, working, or need to step away. A gentle hike, curling up on the couch with a book, or a puzzle could be some forms of active rest that might be more restorative for you. If you tend towards anxiety, gently doing something organizational—like reorganizing your closet or fridge—might be a form of active rest that makes more sense for you to practice.
4. Parallel rest or scheduled rest. If rest feels uncomfortable, consider easing your way in with a friend or container. Ever heard of parallel play?
For those of us with ADHD who find body doubling useful, it might be a good practice to invite a friend over for a "rest date". Or, find a yoga Nidra class in your neighborhood or on YouTube.
Hopefully, these suggestions give you some ideas and make you feel