How to get more deliberate rest for better mental health

And more balance in your life

I recently interviewed Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, researcher and author of the book, Rest, a brilliant book which talks about how we can get more rest, the importance of recovery and how you can build that into your lifestyle.

We need to create less busyness. We need to do less stuff, which can be a big contributing factor to how stressed we feel. The first thing I would suggest you think about is how you can get more from doing less. I’ve looked at this in my own life in the last 12 months and I’ve tried to strip stuff out, including physical activity. I do less exercise than I did at high intensity and I’ve got more value out of it, and that applies to my work life and every other aspect in my life as well.

Think about saying no to more things. We tend to over-commit and over-schedule ourselves; say no to more and try and get more out of what it is you are doing. Rest is extremely important, that’s where we get a lot of our recovery from. I don’t mean necessarily sitting there with your feet up with a beer in one hand and the remote control in the other, but active rest. Walking, hiking, spending time with people, doing things like going to the cinema, laughing, just restful activities that don’t require you to be absolutely static. Hiking is a great one for me. That’s a really lovely form of active rest that I get a lot out of. Napping is another one.

If you can get a nap, 20 to 30 minutes ideally between 12 and 2pm, do so. It’s going to make a big difference to your mental health particularly if you’re not getting enough sleep. The other point is to tune into yourself a little bit more. Try and gauge how you’re feeling. The body is really good at sending us signals about how it is, but we’re not always very good at picking them up. We tend to ignore them, push them aside and power on through. Think a little bit about tuning into your body and a simple way to do that is by sitting still and breathing, working on your posture, relaxing the body and just quietly close your eyes and think how do I feel? Do I actually feel really tired? Do I feel quite happy? Do I feel excited about life? Or do I feel really tired in my bones?

The idea is all about deliberate rest. How can you build more deliberate rest into your lifestyle? 

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If you’re reading this, you’re are probably in a reasonably senior position, running your own business or have a busy life running the home and juggling other responsibilities. Either way, you’re busy. The convergent pressures of work and family life have probably meant that the time you did have to spend on health and fitness has disappeared. Why not talk to us and see how we can help.

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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit or email [email protected] to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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