"Rest is the precondition for healing.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Whether it be taking a nap, getting a good night's sleep, taking a 15-minute break, a pause to breathe, or a minute of meditation, it is critical for the mind, body, and soul to rest.
Rest, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is defined as ceasing work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. Every cycle and season has a rhythm and beat that includes a time of rest. Our whole being needs it, dare I say, craves it, for us to show up as the fullest version of ourselves.
If we take a cue from all of nature, we can observe cycles and rhythms from the moon and the seasons that include a time of rest. For example, the moon has many phases and waxes and wanes through the course of a month (also known as the 29 day lunar cycle). During a new moon (beginning of the 29 day lunar cycle), the sun is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, hence the Sun is shining on the ‘dark side of the moon’, the side of the moon we never see. The moon then transitions from new moon to full moon during its waxing phase. During full moon (mid-point of the 29 day lunar cycle), the moon is sitting opposite the Sun, fully illuminated by the light of the Sun.
Now, let us also observe the seasons. In the spring, the season of the maiden, when all things are bright and new, we plant seeds and prepare for a time of growth. The summer, time of the mother, we celebrate and manifest, and dance through the night. During the fall, the season of the wild woman, there is a time of harvest and preparation for hibernation and rest. Lastly, there is the season of winter, the wise woman, when we rest and reflect, and learn from the work we have done during the other three seasons.
While pausing to rest and regroup is of upmost importance, getting enough sleep is also important. The National Sleep Foundation states that healthy sleep is critical; specifically, for memory and the retention of information. So, what is healthy sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours, children need 9-14, and teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), not getting enough sleep is associated with increased risk of injury and linked to chronic health problems such as depression, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure.
In addition, NHLBI states that your ability to function and feel well while you are awake depends on whether you are getting enough total sleep and enough of each type of sleep, REM and non-REM. REM sleep, also known as rapid eye movement, is the dreaming phase of the sleep cycle; while non-REM sleep is the phase of sleep where we experience deep sleep.
So, where should you start?
Start where you are. If thinking of how to get more sleep is overwhelming, then I would encourage starting with a minute breathing mediation – stopping what you are doing, setting the timer on your phone and taking deep breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth. You can do this on your way to the restroom, as you walk to your car or even while sitting in traffic.
Then, set the intention of evolving your practice of rest. For example, you can take a meditative shower by adding the BLK + GRN 100% pure essential oil blend to your shower routine. You have the options of Eucalyptus + Mint, Lemon + Tangerine, Rosemary + Mint or Lavender + Tea Tree to help enhance and lift the mood of your shower.
Another practice of rest may include sitting for a moment in silence or listening to soothing music while drinking a cup of Serene Herbal Organic Tea. It is a beautifully curated blend that promotes calmness and balance and contains love, holy basil leaf (known as the yoga of herbs), gotu kola leaf, lemon balm leaf, peppermint leaf and chamomile flower.
We cannot heal without rest. Our bodies cannot recover from pain, illness, or heartbreak without proper rest. While it is an option, should you choose, you don’t have to start with a yearlong sabbatical – forcing yourself into a new sleep routine, you can incorporate moments of rest in your day right now.
How do you incorporate rest into your lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below.