Rexst is Essential for Revitalizing, and there are 3 elements:
Let’s Start with Exercise: You can listen to “Awaken Grace” by Pheo Rose to get into the exercise spirit
Exercise: A Discussion of its Relationship to Rest and Sleep
(Please Note: In the Land of Being is Creativity. All the physical activity that was part of most children’s lives — the running around, climbing, exploring, creating games, etc. — seems to lose out to responsibilities taken on as young adults and adults. I wonder if this is because we don’t play hide and seek in our schools, homes, and businesses; or have recess for a softball game at lunch between management and staff (now that does sound rather fun, except that individuals who do not know the correct way to run, catch, throw, or bat cannot be fun when muscles are pulled…). Children’s bodies, for the most part are far more adept with creative exercise ideas; and, even those with physical limitations can find ways to create and play. Learning basic biomechanics can open up creative play for an adult. And having creative play combines exercise and creativity which is beneficial; which in turn benefits rest and sleep. All good!!)
For a more thorough introduction to exercise, please see Exercise under Holistic Self Care
The benefits of regular and life-long exercise are many. And, enough information about exercise in American culture has many people either over-doing exercise, or shunning it rather completely. Thus, reading the section Exercise is important to provide a moderate approach. Over the decades I have seen individuals literally “exercise through their knees,” and are have their first or even second knee replacements. Shoulder, knee, and hip surgeries can often be the result of a lack of moderation, well rounded exercise routine, or even a lack learning the correct biomechanics (okay, if you have not researched this term yet, now is a good time :). The importance of developing good exercise routines in your life is that your rest and sleep benefit.
For perhaps hundreds of thousands years humans were very active physically, simply to survive and provide themselves a basic quality of life. Their life was in many respects a life of using their bodies. With the industrial revolution and beyond, physical activity could be limited to what was needed on a production line. Sitting at desks for most of an 8 hour work day greatly limited physical activity, and typically could include stress. Even in homes, physical activity was lessened by modern appliances, automobiles, etc. Physical education in schools was more or less beneficial, less so if a person was “down-graded” in being compared to others — too bad such grading comparison took place because I saw classmates pull away from physical education and physical activities because they had such bad experience in being compared to others. Without active physical lives, both rest and sleep diminished in quality.
If you have sat all day, in whatever occupation, other than resting your mind, rather than resting an already inactive body, what is needed is healthy exercise to increase oxygen exchange (good research term), increase heart rate, and in general increase your metabolism (good research term). Exercise benefits your quality of rest. And, rest is important for releasing stress, anxiety, muscular tension, and more.
There are people who sleep well no matter what. And fortunate are they indeed. However, post-industrial life has developed cultures that have been negative to healthy sleep. If a person is over-tired, not enough rest, sleep actually becomes more difficult. It is as if the brain is waking up with “What’s next?!.” Getting good exercise and raising heart rate and increasing metabolism not only benefits the ability to rest, but also getting those necessary REM sleep cycles (research term). Exercise with its endorphins (research term), rest as time to release stress, anxiety, worry, etc., will be so beneficial to then healthy sleep.
Rest: A Discussion of its Relationship to Exercise and Sleep
(If you have not read about rest in the Rest/Sleep section, now would be a good time before continuing with this section)
Here is an analogy for beginning this discussion on rest: If you are carrying too many bags at once, you may wisely put a couple down before you drop some. Consciousness does the same when there is too much strain of an overload of thoughts going on. Only one or two thoughts will be held, and the rest are dropped off. The reality of this is felt when you cannot remember where you just put your car keys when you realized you needed to bring your check book to pay an overdue bill. But you cannot remember where the bill is, and you get interrupted by a phone call from an annoying neighbor who now is complaining about your dog. At this point you may even forget what you were looking for. The greater the strain, the less consciousness can keep all organized in short term memory. The longer such stress goes on, the less short term memory functions, anxiety fills the space, and depression can begin taking hold.
When over-fatigued, the inner voices you hear (see discernment ) will often be the volatile ones: irritation, annoyance, impatience. You can become irritable with yourself as well as with others. People negatively reacting to your irritability and self-negativity will increase your chronic stress, and possibly depression. Areas of tension, physical/mental, also increase. Avoidance, denial, and using various forms of escape and self-gratifications occur to the detriment of yourself. Rest can help break the spiraling cycle. (Exercise also can be a big help in breaking these patterns.) Some people refuse to rest, with the perspective that they do not need it. That perspective is somewhat like the perspective that they do not need to exercise. Those perspectives are not beneficial to personal wellness.
In the Land of Being, giving yourself rest, creativity, exercise, and even service to that you love, offsets the spiral into chronic negativity, depression and anxiety. If you have a lot of stress or pressures in your life, but do not have a healthy rest regime like your exercise one, your energy can dissipate over the years. Also, recognize the difference between escaping and resting. Lying down for hours watching TV has been found not to be all that restful. Spending hours of personal time on a computer can be an escape, but not rest. What is rest, and how do you find your rest?
When has someone ever said to you: “Rest is very valuable and therapeutic. Here is how to make best use of the time you have to rest.”? Here is your checklist:
1) Keep a regular sleep schedule. Do not allow yourself to kick into high gear just as you are supposed to go to bed. This is surprisingly common and individuals are often not aware of this unless they are intentionally be attentive to this. Obviously, instead of slowly down mind and body, the reverse is happening. The hour before you turn out the lights for the night should be restful. Listening to certain relaxing music is good. The Peace Bringer Album in the Music for You section, was composed for this hour before bed. Several music streaming services provide “Relaxation Music.” You can also use this hour for reflecting on the day, checking for times of anxiety, stress, unpleasantness, etc., and release these knowing that as the wise phrase says: “These too will pass.” If a major upset has occurred, you may want to go into the For Those in Need section of this website. You also can put into perspective that time is going to be needed, and focusing on centering yourself, perhaps by focusing on your breathing, is the best immediate action.
2) At work or at school, breaks are provided. I look forward to when companies and schools provide no noise rooms with chairs that tilt back to place a person in an “anti-gravity” position. These would provide the best use for these provided breaks. You can find places are are somewhat quiet, and use “noise cancelling” headphones to increase the quiet atmosphere. Use these to rest. On non-working/school days, strongly consider sitting in a comfortable chair with your feet up (as soon as you can, treat your self to an anti-gravity chair which is a lounge chair that tilts back), and relaxing your mind in quiet. If you live somewhere with a lot of noise, there are those “noise cancelling headphones” that are quite helpful.
3) Twenty to Forty minutes is what you need as time for rest. Fifteen minutes is a little short of the optimal time, but is better than nothing. Laying down is also helpful. If you fall asleep, and find you have a hard time waking up or getting up from a nap, do not stop your naps. The first 10 minutes after a nap you may be groggy, but do a physical chore and you should be able to make the transition. If you have a hard time waking from a nap, discern if you are really that over-tired and need more rest, or if you are really depressed. Both need a response, and your naps will be a good indicator of your health. You do not need to sleep to have a good nap. Just rest your mind and body.
4) Taking time to meditate for short periods during the day is very restful (see meditation using sound for introduction to meditation). Basically you want to sit quietly and keep clearing the stream of thoughts; especially any that are swirling around. Again, if you find that slowing down leaves you groggy or sleepy, give yourself a few minutes. Also, use this as a measure if you are getting enough sleep.
5) If you find you have a hard time getting to sleep, or wake up more tired than you were when you went to bed, take steps to deal with this. Do you give yourself a quieting down activity before turning out the light? Do you suffer from a form of sleep apnea?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Ben Franklin
Sleep: A Discussion of its Relationship to Exercise and Rest
(As with the discussion about rest, if you have not read the Rest/Sleep section, do so before continuing with this section.) A good night’s sleep is energizing. Thus, keep a healthy and moderate exercise routine is easier. And as rest, especially restful activity the hour before bedtime, is helpful for sleep, with a regular and good sleep pattern, rest during the day can occur without immediately falling to sleep. Rest has a focused attention on centering and clearing consciousness of the cacophony of inner voices. If you fall asleep, you cannot achieve this. However, for some a 15-20 nap during the day, re-energizes them. You need to find out what works for you. Good sleep benefits both exercise and rest. All three are very interrelated.