5 Signs You Need A Rest Day

Are you a person who is always on the move? Many of us struggle with slowing down and taking time to rest. Rushing is how we roll. Busyness is who we are. But did you know that rest and self-care go hand in hand? Let’s explore the 5 signs you need a rest day.

Pink quote

One of the most overlooked needs is the need to rest. There’s a line in a song by Pink that says, “The quiet scares me because it screams the truth.” Rest is about quiet, and that’s terrifying for a lot of us.

We live in a society focused on doing, not being. Social conditioning has us believe that resting, playing, stepping away from the grind of productivity is a sign of weakness or laziness. We think we have to choose productivity OR rest.

The good news is… we don’t.

Why Rest Is Important

Rest isn’t just taking a nap or getting enough sleep, although it can be. Rest is about being intentional with our energy.

Many people go through life “burning the candle at both ends.” We do it until burnout and debilitating physical, emotional and mental health consequences make us stop.

Don’t wait until your body demands that you prioritize rest and self-care. Consider how you’re investing your time, reflect on what you need, and introduce more rest if warranted.

Rest is a legitimate need.

5 Signs You Need A Rest Day

signs you need a rest day

This one is for all of the high performers out there who don’t want to slow down because they’re afraid it might impact their productivity or relevance. This one is for you.

Rest improves your productivity, output, and overall peace of mind. Here are the five signs you need a rest day because you’re going at it too intensely.

1. You’re struggling to focus.

Sign: A subtle sign that you need a break is when you’re having trouble concentrating. Your mind is wandering, you can’t sit still, and no amount of cajoling is helping you get things done. Sometimes this means that you’re holding things, emotions, expectations too tightly and you need to pause and loosen your grip.

Solution: If your mind is busy and you’re struggling to focus, do a brain dump of all tasks that are crowding your mind to create some space. Then step away, reassure yourself you will tend to your obligations, and simply rest. This doesn’t mean scrolling social media or getting lost in a screen. This means meditation, going for a walk, breathing deeply, laughing with friends, writing down your goals or dreams or feelings, dancing to music. “Rest” doesn’t mean you have to be completely still and silent. Rest means stepping away from the pace of your life even if just for a moment and choosing being over doing.

2. You keep getting sick.

Sign: If you keep getting sick, your body could be telling you something. When you run yourself into the ground working seven days a week, of course, your body is going to object. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re pushing yourself to the edge of your coping skills, or you’re chronically stressed, you’re going to get sick. Sickness forces the body to slow down. And we do not need to create illness to validate our legitimate need for rest.

Solution: Take care of your body. Rest and self-care are essential for a healthy body and mind. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night. Eat more leafy greens. Drink more water. Take time away from screens and the things that burden your mind. Rest is not a distraction to your productivity. It is a means for magnifying your success.

3. You feel irritable and tired.

Sign: Irritability and excessive tiredness can be a clue that you’re riding the burnout train. It’s not fun moving through life feeling frustrated with those around you. It’s also disconcerting when your eyes keep fluttering despite a full agenda. You may even ask yourself: “What is wrong with me? Why am I so tired?” Rather than challenge the obvious signs of depletion, honor the messages and rest. If you feel your energy levels waning, it might be time to step back and assess what’s causing the tiredness and irritation.

Solution: Get real. Contemplate the context and considerations of your life. What do you need? Are you compensating for your tiredness by eating more sugar, consuming 100 cups of coffee, or participating in other behaviors that aren’t benefiting you long-term? Perhaps these are signs you need a rest day, so the solution is… rest!

4. You’re forgetting things.

Sign: Another reason why rest is important is its power to help rejuvenate the mind. If you’re running on fumes, you’re likely struggling to remember things. Do you ever walk into a room and forget why you’re there? What about important dates or deadlines? Taking on too much without taking time to rest and reset will rear its head in the form of forgetfulness.

Solution: Schedule regular downtime to reset. You don’t have to drive yourself to the point of collapse. Take a nap. Pencil in a bi-weekly massage, friend date, nature walk, or even just a consistently scheduled day off from work where you aren’t thinking about it, talking about it, or participating in it.

5. Your work-life balance is way out of balance.

Sign: Do you notice yourself working more and more? When you aren’t working, you’re thinking about working. When you aren’t working, you feel guilty for not working. When you aren’t working, you feel like you’re wasting time. Work through these ideas because balancing doing and resting is essential for a well-balanced life.

Solution: Dig into these ideas. When you think you’re resting, are you actually numbing and zoning out? When you’re resting, do you feel guilty for not working? Learn more about yourself and your patterns. It’s ok to have a strong work ethic, but you’ll likely live a happier life if you have a strong play ethic and a strong rest ethic too. Rest is not procrastination or avoidance. It is presence and attention to your needs. It is a proven and vital tool for restoring and recalibrating.

Take Care Of You So You Can Take Care Of Business

Believe it or not, when you take time for rest and self-care, your work and ideas will actually improve. The most successful people in the world, and I mean traditional success, know how to take a day off and rest. They know the importance of filling their own cup because those are when aha moments and new ideas emerge.

Packing your time with too many things doesn’t leave room for creativity, innovation, and a much-needed reset. The important thing is to do you. Rest looks different for everyone. You can focus on meditation or mindfulness practices, getting out in nature, reading a book purely for pleasure, taking up a hobby that doesn’t make you money,

In a society that prioritizes a to-do list over a to-be list, rest is an act of defiance. Choose calm over chaos and vow to defend your whisper for rest before it becomes a desperate roar.

Your mind, body, and all those you love and serve will thank you.


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