Fallow Periods: The Importance of Rest

Health & Wellbeing

By Anna Dugdale

Feeling burnt out and having no energy is such a common thing, and it’s so easy to feel guilty about taking time off. But while we withstand another lockdown, the ongoing difficulties of working or studying from home means taking time for yourself is more important than ever. 

Relaxation plays a significant role in boosting your physical, emotional and mental health while reducing the stressors of everyday life. Just like your body, an active mind also gets tired, and in today’s society, it’s so easy to feel like you’re falling behind and in competition with others. The culture of productivity can be toxic, especially in lockdown, when it appears like everyone is keeping themselves busy. But remember, people don’t promote their days off. It doesn’t fit their narrative or algorithms on social media to do so, but it doesn’t mean they don’t take time for themselves.

When you ask people if they take time off, many will say they’re too busy because of the many demands of modern life: bills, jobs, responsibilities, nor can they afford the time off. Having such a hectic lifestyle has meant we’ve lost sight of what’s important: prioritising our health. In the same way that you have a rest day after exerting yourself physically, through exercise or just having a long day, you must treat your mind the same way you would treat your body.

There are so many benefits of having periods of rest.

  1. Your body becomes healthier as you’ve given it time to recharge.
  2. You will be less stressed. Time off gives you space away from the situation that is causing stress and produces renewed energy to approach the stressful situation.
  3. Your relationships will improve. Everyone is guilty of spending too much time on work rather than spending time with loved ones. By taking time off, you’re allowing yourself to rediscover what is important to you, and your relationships will improve because of it.
  4. It will improve your productivity. Taking one day off and spending it resting and recharging will enhance your work quality throughout the rest of the week, rather than giving yourself a few hours off at a time.

Here are some of my top tips for taking time off.

  1. Plan it around your own timetable. As it’s your time off, don’t alter it to anyone else’s schedule. It may make you feel guilty, but rest is there to make you feel better, no one else.
  2. Plan your time off. Put it on your calendar and choose activities that will refresh you.
  3. Practice self-care. Use this time to wash your hair, put a face mask on or do your nails. Whatever makes you feel organised and complete. 

Taking the time to rest, without allowing the subsequent guilt to ruin your relaxation will take time to get used to. Experts claim that having one full rest day a week will help considerably. Noted, this may be difficult considering the trials and tribulations of modern life, but even half a day off will do wonders for your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

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