Recently there was a vaccination drive in my neighborhood. Everybody was told to drink more fluids and get adequate rest. The next day, a lot of people were complaining of headaches, giddiness, and extreme tiredness, apart from fever. Although fever, headaches, and lethargy are common after vaccination to some extent, this seemed too much.
Of course, individual reaction to this vaccine has a major role to play, but this advice I was giving everybody of taking "adequate rest" made me wonder - how many of us truly rest? Rest does not merely mean that you sleep 6-8 hours every day (although I wonder whether even 2 percent of women actually get adequate sleep). Rest does not mean napping during the daytime, or lying down for an hour with YouTube on, or a book, or social media. It does not even mean meditating for a few minutes every day.
Rest actually has 7 components - physical, mental, sensory, emotional, spiritual, creative (or intellectual), and social.
So yes, physical rest is important, which means sleeping 6-8 hours every night, and taking a nap for 30-45 mins during the day. But active physical rest is also important, which comes from activities that improve our body's flexibility and circulation, like yoga, massage, and stretching.
Often we lie down, "rest", but our minds are still replaying conversations of the day, or worrying about an upcoming event, or wondering whether the children are still online, or even just making to-do lists for tomorrow. If by some great chance we are able to go to sleep, how will that turn into actual rest? Of course it won't, unless we make it a practice to switch off our busy brains along with our mobiles before sleeping.
People come to you for a solution of their problems, for a shoulder to cry on. Or maybe you are so empathetic that other people's tragedy saddens you. Emotional rest means being able to tell someone when you are NOT alright. Don't just take on worries. Ask for help from someone when you need it. Stop people pleasing, especially when doing so is detrimental for your own self.
It is important sometimes to switch off. Switch off the TV, the extra-bright lights late into the night. Switch off your mobile phone once in a while. Take out 10seconds every hour to just close your eyes.
Believing in a higher power is said to improve our well-being. Volunteering, being active in our community, meditation and prayer make us empathetic and accepting; they give us a sense of purpose.
Creative (or Intellectual) Rest
Everyone is constantly looking for ideas and inspiration. Whether it is for our job, or home, or kids' projects. Creative rest comes from taking a break and just enjoying nature. Look at the trees, sky, birds and sunsets and wonder at the immense complexity and simplicity of creation. Inspiration will flow without your having to wreck your brain over it.
Some people make us better, while others constantly break down our self-confidence, or self-worth. Stay away from gossips, yes-men and constantly negative people. And if you can't stay away from them totally, don't give them the power to affect your words and actions. Every day, spend time with the people who engage us, encourage us. Even those who disagree with us, because at least they make us look at things with new perspectives.
Start with one habit at a time.
To conclude, it is important first to know what we are missing in order to pursue it. So as a first step, let us vow on this International Day of Yoga to include more yoga and meditation in each of our lives, everyday.
If we pick one form of rest, practice it every day for a week, then add another form of rest the next week, and so on, in less than 2 months we will have learnt the proper way of resting. As mothers and wives, let us also make sure to make our families a part of this. And as they say, "the best way to teach is to do, not just tell."