Living in the city and in this increasingly connected and fast-paced world, we have forgotten how to truly rest.
As the end of the year is approaching, I want us to end the year in a truly restful and relaxed manner.
I say true rest because the rest that we normally do isn’t truly rest. It’s a distraction or simply just half-rest.
And I know it’s funny how we have to learn even a simple thing like resting, but the truth is that we really need to, because of all the barriers that we now have in order to truly rest and relax.
Barriers to true rest
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Often our idea of rest after coming from work or doing some hard work is to lay down in bed and watch TV or scroll the internet for some entertainment.
So many of us now engage in revenge bedtime procrastination, which is a term used to describe the attitude where we delay going to bed as a form of revenge for all the time we didn’t have to ourselves in the day because of our work or other obligations.
We feel that the only time we get to ourselves is at night and so we procrastinate sleeping even though in the morning we might regret not having given us a good sleep.
But every night we repeat this cycle of revenge in order to take back our control over leisure.
And the result?
We become human beings who are falling short of relaxation, good sleep and good mood.
We are always tired and exhausted, and we don’t know the way out.
The other barrier to true rest is simply our inability to rest and relax.
We feel we don’t have time to rest or don’t deserve a rest until we have achieved something or finished something.
We have attached so much of our self-worth to our productivity and output that resting is something we feel guilty about.
But you don’t need to prove anyone anything in order to deserve a rest.
You don’t do your work so that you can then deserve to rest.
You deserve to rest so that you can then do your most meaningful work.
So identify your barriers to true rest.
Bring mindfulness to your habits, your way of thinking, and your attitude when it comes to relaxing and resting, and ask yourself what is stopping you from truly resting.
When was the last time you felt truly relaxed and rested?
True rest is relaxing, refreshing, easing and healing, both to the body and mind.
True rest is our right. It is our right to feel this joy, peace and calm in our daily lives, not just when we are on vacation.
If we really know how to rest, we can tap into this joy and peace and come back to the present moment every day in our lives.
And the result of this would be becoming human beings who are calm, relaxed and peaceful.
We become human beings who know how to ease stress and remove tension from our bodies naturally.
Not only will you become such a person, but even your home starts to resonate with this feeling.
When people enter my home, they say they feel calm, relaxed and “at home”.
A few days back one of my friends had brought a friend with her, and when he entered my home, his first word was “Wow” and he couldn’t stop telling me how peaceful and positive he was feeling at my place.
There are many people who have always had the same things to say when they first entered my home.
The world right now really needs people who are rested, relaxed and peaceful, and we can all become that if we only try a little and bring mindfulness to our habits and attitudes.
True rest also requires discipline. Not much, but a little, so that you can truly enjoy freedom.
And so today I want to share how we can learn the art of true rest and some ways I love to rest and relax:
How to Truly Rest and Enjoy Relaxing
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1. Lie down without any devices
This is my best way to really enjoy a good rest- close my eyes, lie down in bed, with no devices and do nothing.
The reason why we’re never truly rested and refreshed even after lying down in bed for hours is that our minds are still active and we don’t bring mindfulness to how our body is truly feeling.
These past few weeks I am allowing myself to rest and lie down without any devices- not use my phone or anything, but just close my eyes and lie down in my bed.
This sometimes ends up in a nap, and sometimes it does not.
But when I lie down without any devices, I am better aware of the tension in my body and I notice it easing up.
Normally I would feel even more exhausted after laying down in bed, but when I am without devices and I just enjoy resting and closing my eyes, I feel like my mind which was scattered is slowly getting gathered and coming together.
I feel as though all the tabs opened in my mind are slowly getting closed one after another and I feel easy in my mind as well.
Amazing how this small practice works. I then get up to find my energy renewed and feel so good I smile to myself.
2. Enjoy spaciousness
Most of our days are crammed with work and things to do.
We complain we don’t get time to ourselves, but when we don’t have anything to do, we try to fill it up with some work or get some more things done.
I notice this tendency in myself a lot.
It takes effort and a firm decision to say no and allow myself to enjoy spaciousness.
But when I give myself spaciousness, I am always so thankful.
This morning I cleaned and arranged my balcony and plants once again. I was feeling as if the plants were getting all crammed up together, so I moved some of the plants to my other rooms.
Now I am finally feeling like my plants on the balcony have got some room to breathe and that they are enjoying.
We need to give ourselves a breather too, and keep moments of time where we can enjoy space.
Then we enjoy our spaciousness more mindfully and do anything we wish to.
It’s important that you enjoy your spaciousness offline.
For me, I am keeping my evenings spacious and free- where I have nothing planned to do- I then choose to read my book, meditate, relax with my kittens, go for a walk, cook, or just do anything I actually like.
Here is a 10 minute guided meditation for relaxed mind and body
When I enjoy my spaciousness this way, I feel so much relaxed and I am much more mindful in that time.
3. Have a cup of tea
Having a cup of tea is a great way to relax and unwind.
When I have someone over, our evening tea is a way to unwind, connect and relax.
When I am alone, I have my cup of tea (medium size at Rs. 12) at a ‘Chai-shop’ known as Saroj Tea Stall while I go for my evening walk, and it is the best tea for me.
When at home, a cup of tea in the evening is how me and my mum connect, talk and relax. We talk about our dreams, our lives and just random stuff and I love it.
I don’t know about others, but this is something that is a part of many of our lives in the hills of Darjeeling, and also in India as a whole.
4. Enjoy time together
Enjoying time together and feeling connected with a loved one is also another best way to relax.
So much of our rest depends on feeling connected with each other.
We need to be away from our screens and actually talk to each other and improve our connection.
If you are lucky to be living with your loved ones at home, remember what a blessing it is and make the most of the time you get to spend together.
The best times with my partner are just when we are relaxing, lying down, talking, laughing and doing nothing.
The other best time is going for a walk in the evenings and talking with each other all the way while we hold hands.
When we are in the same place, there is not a single day that we miss our evening walks or scooty rides. It’s how our love grew.
I remember those times more and find them more sacred than any other time of going to a fancy restaurant or doing anything extravagant.
It’s little moments of time spent joyfully together that also amounts to true rest and relaxation.
So relax and rejuvenate together. And this need not only be with your partner.
Just enjoy your time with your pets, your parents, your siblings, your friends doing nothing and be screen-free.
5. Live without clutter
Clutter adds stress.
If your home is cluttered and untidy, you really cannot truly relax and rest.
I can only enjoy true rest and feel more relaxed when my home is tidy and clean.
It somehow matters.
Monday is my day off and this morning before I sat to write this, I cleaned my rooms, and my balcony (made it more spacious), then rested for a while, laying down on a mat wearing a face mask with my kittens rested beside me.
It was after resting that I felt that I now had the energy to write, and then I decided to write to you about rest, because true rest is something that I gave myself this past week, and hope to continue giving.
Having a clutter-free home helps us want to rest and relax.
It inspires us to prioritize our well-being and our happiness. It supports us in building good habits.
If we live in a cluttered home, it’s the opposite. We won’t feel at ease and we are more likely to end up with self-sabotaging habits unknowingly.
If you want to truly rest and enjoy relaxing, choose to let go of clutter and see what difference it makes.
6. Doing anything mindfully
Lastly, doing anything mindfully is relaxing I feel.
Earlier I used to complain about not getting enough time for myself because of work, and household chores like cooking, cleaning, and things like that.
But now I have found that I can turn those things into a relaxing activity if I only do it mindfully.
Cooking earlier seemed to be a boring chore, but now it has become something of a restful thing which I do to get my mind off other things and a time where I just cook, listen to music and get time to myself.
Similarly, any activity can be relaxing such as putting on nail paint, getting a good shower, painting, wearing a facemask, moisturising our skin, going for a mindful walk etc.
I have a Tibetan healing bowl which I got from Himachal Pradesh and I have finally learned how to use it.
The sound is healing and I find my body and mind relaxing when I give all my attention to the sound permeating in my room through the bowl.
Simple activities such as these when done with mindfulness can turn into rest and relaxation too.
Ask yourself before you complain, “Can I do this in a more relaxed and restful way?”
It’s almost certain that you can.
I am writing this newsletter in a relaxed state of being and realising that it’s possible.
So these are some of the ways we can enjoy true rest
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I hope you noticed that true rest and relaxation depend on our ability to be screen-free and actually enjoy our spaciousness, our do-nothing times, our times of connection or times when we can turn on our mindfulness.
All of these can go a long way in us becoming restful, calm and relaxed human beings.
When we become so, we will start spilling peace, joy and calmness in situations and people that deserve it.
I hope we all learn the art of rest and relaxation before the year ends so that next year can be even more relaxing and refreshing.
This will certainly be my intention for next year and it all starts with simple decisions we can take now:
Simple decisions to rest such as:
I will allow myself to rest
I will allow myself to be without screens
I will allow myself to do nothing
I will allow myself to turn this into a mindful moment
All of these can go a long way.
I hope that we all decide to truly rest and relax.
P.S This was from my Mindful Monday Newsletter. If you liked what you read and want to receive my updates, join below. It would be wonderful to have you ❤️
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