How to rest so you can reduce stress and anxiety

What comes to mind when you hear the word rest?

  • not enough time
  • you can sleep when you are dead
  • who needs rest
  • work hard, play hard
  • successful people never stop moving
  • rest is for weak people

The above are just some of the very common phrases I hear people say when they don’t want rest or see no value in it.

On the other hand, people (including myself) who have suffered burnout and depression have all said these common statements:

  • I wish I had worked less
  • no one told me that rest is beneficial to my success
  • rest rejuvenates the soul
  • rest provides a space for creativity to grow
  • rest helps you problem solve
  • resting your body will help reduce stress and anxiety

Benjamin Franklin who as a scientist and inventor knew the very importance of rest.

“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” —Benjamin Franklin

As a once confessed workaholic, I now take my rest time very seriously. Being burnt out from too much work doesn’t help you or anyone you interact with. I have chosen to not only rest but to enjoy resting. I now love doing nothing! That is a big statement for me as I have always been goal orientated and wanting to achieve success in all areas. I had put reaching my goals and achieving success before resting as I thought that if I rested, I would slow up the process of reaching my targets and goals.


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Maya Angelou who was an American poet and civil rights activist said:

“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” ? Maya Angelou

I have found the following benefits when resting and taking the time to do nothing:

  • Healthier eating habits
  • Being more alert in my everyday conversations and interactions
  • Having meaningful ideas in meetings at work
  • Being braver in my life and taking risks
  • I have been more kind and compassionate
  • Being able to think outside the box and being more creative

Resting is so important in this modern, upbeat and instant society that we live in. You and I do not have to do what everyone else is doing, we can give ourselves permission to go against the flow, swim upstream, be different and put ourselves first. Try today to not do some of these following everyday rituals and see the benefits from just one day without them:

  • checking our phones every other minute
  • cramming work in or cramming for the next big exam
  • competing for the next promotion before your even ready to move up
  • neglecting our health to achieve wealth

A Harvard Business Review article, explains the areas that lead to burning out such as

“Workload – When you have a workload that matches your capacity, you can effectively get your work done, have opportunities for rest and recovery, and find time for professional growth and development. When you chronically feel overloaded, these opportunities to restore balance don’t exist.” (

Today, I am committing myself to take one day a week for myself, to rejuvenate my mind, spirit, and body. I know that by doing this, I will be a better partner, a better friend, and a better employee. What will your rest commitment be today?


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