Though there is much evidence supporting the importance of rest, the average person does not get adequate sleep. During sleep, the body recovers from the day’s activities, recharging and rebuilding in preparation for the next day. Doctors have long emphasized the need for rest, especially for those who are ill, as the extra sleep allows them to replenish their health and strength.
Athletes understand the importance of using rest as part of physical training. Rest allows the body to repair, which prevents injury. Your body demands periods of rest between periods of intense activity for best results and competitive advantage.
Psychologists, artists, and philosophers, from da Vinci to Ovid, have long extolled the virtues of rest, praising it as a better use of one’s time. Religious leaders encourage the regular use of rest as a way to recharge and reconnect with the things that are important in your life.
Ask most entrepreneurs about rest, and you’ll likely get a blank stare or a scoffing laugh. Rest, it seems, is in short supply for the business owner. There are too many bills to pay, too much work to be done, too many demands to allow for consistent times of rest. But the cycle of nonstop work wreaks havoc on one’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, in many cases contributing to the high burn-out rate of executives and entrepreneurs.
Health Benefits of Rest
What benefits do you receive when you practice concentrated rest?
Healthier Body: Your body does not function well if it does not receive adequate rest. By eating well and maintaining regular periods of rest, your body can perform at its peak.
Less Stress: Often, stressful situations seem direr when they are exacerbated by feelings of exhaustion and the strain of the current crisis. Resting allows you to approach situations with clarity. You are able to find solutions, meet the demands of the situation, and function better under pressure when you have had proper amounts of rest.
Improved Relationships: Working excessively shortchanges your ability to form meaningful relationships with those around you. Families are enriched by designated times of relaxation and conversation. Spending time with those you love, without the pressure of work responsibilities, deepens the bonds between you.
Identity Building: By allowing yourself a chance to engage in activities that do not revolve around work, you are building an identity separate from work-related functions. When you have the opportunity to participate in hobbies or extracurricular activities, you can see that you are more than what you do for a living.
Improved Results: Simply working more does not mean that you are working better. By allowing your mind and body a chance to rest, you will be able to function and work more effectively than if you tried to work through your exhaustion.
How Can You Reclaim Your Rest?
It can be difficult to carve time out for concentrated rest, particularly if you have gotten away from the habit of regular rest. Concentrated rest involves more than simply sleeping—it is developing an attitude of rest and taking a break from actively thinking or engaging in work-related activities. Want to regain an attitude of restfulness?
Focus on Contentment: Much of what drives entrepreneurs to work to the point of exhaustion is the idea that there must be ‘more’—more money, more skills, more power. However, the drive to achieve the next status level can be exhausting. By focusing on what you currently have and learning to be content, you are able to step off the treadmill and relax.
Schedule Your Rest: As ridiculous as it sounds, scheduling breaks for rest allows you to feel more rested. Carve out 15 minutes each afternoon to take a walk, do yoga, or enjoy another relaxing activity. Putting it on the calendar underscores the importance of it and prevents it from becoming a wishful activity.
Be Responsible for Your Activity Level: Is your schedule ‘too full’ for rest? Instead of making excuses about why you can’t take time to rest, take charge of your schedule. Make changes to your daily activities to allow for periods of rest.
Simplify: Change your lifestyle to reflect an attitude of rest. If you are constantly working on house projects or maintaining a precisely manicured lawn, consider simplifying to find housing that allows for more rest. Constantly chasing the next big toy? Live within your means and escape the financial pressure of having to work constantly to make ends meet.
Resting takes practice. It can seem foreign to value rest in a society that constantly pushes for more, but the benefits are worth it, for you as well as your family and friends. Make the necessary changes to add rest to your to-do list this year. No matter what business you’re in, you’ll be happier and healthier with regular rest.