REST: A Daily Activity.
Why resting our body, mind and spirit is more important now than ever.
We live in a fast-paced world. Constantly encouraged by the instant gratification of social media, this current generation is the fastest yet, and projections show this only speeding up. In this time of flashing screens, friends changing faster than profile photos, and an entire dimension on information called the internet, it is more imperative than ever that we get our rest.
The definition of rest is “cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.” Nova Browning Rutherford, mental health and wellness facilitator, has her own definition of rest for better clarity: “Visualize filling a glass of water. Mix it quickly with a spoon. Set it down. The glass is still. The swirl continues. You are the glass. Your brain is the water. Rest begins when the 'swirl' starts to slow.the.fuck.down.”
For most of human history, work has meant physical labor, and rest has meant literally stopping motion and movement to let the body relax. According to statistics, currently more than half of the jobs in the U.S. require heavy technology use, mainly sitting at computers. Creatives, like those working at Eyes&Edge, are completely reliant on the internet for networking, marketing and publication, with heavy involvement in social media being a requirement. Our brains are constantly stimulated to the point where we don’t know what to do when it is time to be present and still.
There are many different ways to rest, but taking breaks from screen time is a necessity in this modern world. It is very refreshing to get a long stretch of time without the screen- we suggest camping trips where there is no cell reception, leaving the computer at home when you go on vacation and participating in retreats and festivals where there is no focus on work, only relaxation and fun. Try to spend time away from screens daily as well - ditch the phone on your hike or walk on the beach. Choose to take a class at the gym and connect with others rather than running on the treadmill watching tv. A book is a great option for night time winddown or with your afternoon coffee.
Besides this, it is important to keep up with sleep, no matter how much work you need to get done. “Studies show that 4 hours of sleep a night is equal to having 2 cocktails. You might be able to function, but it's not a sustainable headspace. Poor brain function leads to poor nutrition, social and work habits, causing more medication or self-medication, and down the rabbit hole we go.” It is normalized in our society to work overtime, put your career before self-care, and get little sleep while expecting to function. Functioning doesn’t have to be the goal though, we can thrive and be fully present in our lives. Rutherford believes society has to change in order for us all to thrive. “North Americans have less vacation time, sick days, shorter parental leave, and a #grindtime mentality. The burnout costs billions and it's killing us mentally, physically, morally, socially. We are too tired to tackle the BIG issues that impact us because our collective humanity is corroding. As we careen into 2020, people and industries are saying, begging, ENOUGH!! If you want me, value ME. Cultures worldwide take intentional breaks during the workday resulting in increased focus, improved mood, productivity and social connection. We can shift this and it starts by being honest about the strain. “
It is important that we are honest with ourselves and each other. Social media makes it appear as though everyone is constantly hustling and working and traveling, but we all can get burnt out easily. We admire social media pages that show an authenticity when it comes to mental health. “Creating an opportunity for dialogue means showing up openly and demonstrating the power in vulnerability” says Rutherford. One way in this day and age that we can continue to show up for each other is to acknowledge that we are all trying hard, and it is always okay to REST.
Thank you to rest expert Nora Browning Rutherford.