Now that it seems like the world is learning how to navigate life with Covid-19, many might feel like our lives are back in full swing and might even be accelerating to make up for lost time. While living amid a fast-paced environment that has historically stressed productivity and progress, setting rest goals might feel a bit counterintuitive.
Most of our goals are centered around doing or accomplishing something. Your goals might involve maintaining healthy habits like regular exercise or taking the steps you need to take to secure that promotion you’ve been wanting. While these are worthwhile objectives, these action-based goals tend to overshadow the all-important rest and relaxation.
Headspace meditation expert and clinical social worker Kessonga Giscombé, LAc, sheds some more light on why rest deserves to be scheduled into your day.
“There are so many scientifically proven benefits of taking time to rest,” Giscombé explains. “The ones that stand out to me are an increase in stress resiliency, and increased clarity of thought, which leads to better performance at school and work, and decreasing the risk of getting serious health ailments like diabetes or high blood pressure.”
What do rest goals look like?
Just like when you set any other goal, rest goals require you to clarify your objectives around rest and build an action plan. Giscombé believes that doing this regularly can help set a positive tone for the rest of the day, week, or month. “I would frame it as ‘rest intentions,’ so as to take the pressure off. In addition, I would pay attention to making my ‘rest intentions’ realistic and not too lofty,” he continues.
As with any other goals, rest goals will be unique to you and your needs. Perhaps you would benefit from taking a 15 to 20-minute break for every hour and a half of work you do, while someone else prefers setting aside three minutes to meditate every morning. The best way to figure out what rest goals work best for you is to play around and experiment.
Getting over the guilt of setting stress goals
The idea of taking a “time out” runs counter to a lot of the values instilled by the traditional workplace that glorifies “the grind.” However, we seem to be turning a corner and finally focusing on mental health. During this transition phase, it’s completely understandable that people feel reluctant or guilty about setting aside time to rest.
“When you notice these feelings of guilt… pause and maybe take a deep breath, in through the nose and out through the mouth, and then gently let this feeling go,” Giscombé advises.
With a bit of practice, mindfulness, and self-love, it will become easier to move through these emotions.