Rested? The Three Keys to Finding True Rest, Just in Case

What do you think of when you see that word? Envy? Vague nostalgia? Familiar comfort? When did you last feel truly rested, and woke up feeling recharged, content, and ready to enjoy the day? If you're having trouble remembering, then read on.

Rest is more than just going to bed at a good hour. When it comes to starting your day truly rested, three areas come to mind ... resting your body through sleep, resting your soul (heart) through contentment, and resting your spirit (mind) through relaxation. How well do you take care of yourself in these three areas?

First of all, where does sleep fall on your priority list? Is resting your body last and least? Do you collapse into bed at night exhausted, feeling badly that you didn't cross everything off of your list for the day? Do you wake up feeling like you need several more hours to feel recharged? Many of us (myself included) feel that we need more sleep, need to go to bed earlier, and wish we didn't have so much crammed into each day. If sleep falls at the very bottom of your list, you likely won't ever feel rested. Simply deciding to go to bed earlier won't happen either, unless you change a few other things. I discovered this month that it was a great idea (and joy!) to cross things off of my somewhat insane to-do list, without doing them! I chose to put it there, I can choose to take it off. How simple is that?

Speaking of simple, ever hear the proverb "Don't let the sun go down on your wrath"? I find it to be very true in my own life ... sleep just isn't worth the time you spend on it if you go to bed angry or frustrated. Phyllis Diller puts a twist on it saying "Don't go to bed angry. Stay up and fight!" That takes us to the second point ... resting your soul. How often do you set aside time to pray, meditate, or simply feed your heart? It's not so much about how much time you spend on it, but how well you maintain a sense of contentment and peace with your life and your choices. Are you always needing something else to change before your heart can rest, or are you happy where you are? We may imagine that it takes a monastic life or misty mountain sunrises or an abundant bank account to achieve true peace, but we choose to be content (or not) every moment of every day. What are you choosing?

The last piece of feeling rested is relaxing your spirit. Do you defer all relaxation to an annual vacation? The occasional weekend? Resting your mind is a daily need, just as much as food, water, and sleep. What if you slept as often as you took vacations? Resting your mental batteries (read: turn them off) should happen often, even if it's only a few minutes at a time. My digital camera has the amusing habit of shutting down and saying "replace battery pack" while gasping out a last shrill beep. Turn it on two minutes later and voila, it takes another half dozen shots! Rest means ceasing from all conscious activity. Obviously ceasing ALL mental activity would leave you dead, but you get my drift. Pause. Stop moving. Working. Thinking. Clear out your thoughts and tasks and lists and just let go ... zone out if you will ... and enjoy the silence. Find that a challenge? I'll admit that I do. Even sitting still and doing nothing for ten minutes can be very difficult, my coaching clients often balk at the idea! Start the easy way and just find an activity that totally relaxes you and requires no effort ... listen to music, watch TV, read a book ... whatever genuinely disconnects you from any responsibility or work and frees you from conscious thought. You need that downtime, and failing to take it only builds up tiredness and stress.

If you find yourself regularly cutting your sleep short, staying wound up all day, and popping the Tylenol to get rid of those perpetual tension headaches, then you're not taking care of yourself ... body, soul, or spirit. You need rest to function properly, and it's NOT a luxury, it's a necessity.

Bethany Rule is an experienced personal and professional life coach, championing human development, encouraging change, and helping you break your own rules. Based in NYC, she works with clients all over the world. Please visit http://www.bethanyrule.com to sign up for your FREE Trial Session, FREE monthly newsletter, or to learn more about coaching with Bethany.

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