Up until two months ago, my relationship with rest was a fickle one. Though I appreciated and pretended to practice adequate rest, my career is rooted in being on the go–as a freelance travel journalist, I set my own work schedule, which usually means back-to-back trips and late night writing. It had gotten to the point where the only time I was “resting” was when I was sleeping.
Of course, I wasn’t able to recognize this until I was physically forced to stay home (cheers to you, Covid-19). I was anxious sitting on my couch, I was anxious going to bed at 10 p.m., I was anxious to refresh my emails with no new messages. I realized doing close to nothing was something I hadn’t experienced in a very long time; my body and mind adjusted to chaos so when self-isolation presented the exact opposite of disarray, I felt lost.
While I’ve been practicing ways to be more restful, I found rest means something different to everyone—and everyone is doing different things to stay rested during this unrestful time. I learned that regardless of how you stay rested, there are three critical kinds of rest: for the body, for the mind and of course, sleep. I’m still working on resetting boundaries and readjusting my schedule, so I reached out to six experts in the wellness industry, to garner some tips on how I can do better, in hopes you can apply them too.
“Rest can be anything from actual sleep to the time you spend taking care of yourself. Anything that allows you to take a break from the day, or whatever stresses you out, in a calm environment.”Ashley Hilmes, NP, founder of Vega Vitality.
“Sleep is more important now than ever. Making sure we consistently get a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways we can improve our immunity and defend against diseases. Sleeping for less than 7-8 hours a night doesn’t give the body enough time to recover, which affects our mood and behavior. Follow a sleep schedule and make sure to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day (even on weekends).” — Girish and Kanchan Nebhwani, Founders of Drumi.
“I’m sleeping more than ever, which freaked me out at first, but the reality is we’re all living through such an intense, anxiety-producing time that we need to sleep well and eat properly and just be kind to ourselves.” — Zoë Weiner, Associate Beauty + Fitness Editor, Well+Good.
On an evening routine
“Staying rested during quarantine starts during your night-time routine. We stay rested by prepping for bed — making a cup of tea, followed by a face mask and a regimented evening skincare routine. Wear blue light blocking glasses in the evening to assist your body with the production of melatonin. These are important steps to making your sleep really count.” — Ashley Hilmes, Vega Vitality.
“Every night, before going to bed I take a warm shower. I then apply some night cream or an overnight mask and read a book. I try to stick to a sleep schedule, so that I go to bed and wake up around the same time every night. I also make sure to not eat too close to bedtime.” — Kanchan Nebhwani, Drumi.
“It’s been really important to me to stick with a very solid evening routine. I stop looking at my phone around 10 p.m. to give my brain a chance to wind down. I light a Joey Healy Quartz Candle (the scent helps me to signal that it’s time to go to bed), and put on a relaxing playlist. Then, I spend 20 minutes writing in my journal, followed by 30 minutes of reading. This time is my time, and it helps me set boundaries to have it carved out for myself every day.” — Zoë Weiner, Well+Good.
“I avoid watching the news or scrolling through social media. I do some light stretches and read a book before bed. I also recently added beam to my nighttime routine. Beam has a product called Dream and it contains CBD, magnesium, and melatonin.” — Girish Nebhwani, Drumi.
On setting boundaries
“At-home workouts have been a saving grace for me. Every morning, I do some sort of a strength training class before I login to work (usually from 8-9 a.m.; have been loving Peloton, The Ness, Solidcore, Obé, and Keoni Hudoba’s free Instagram workouts), which helps to calm my anxiety and feel accomplished first thing in the morning. Then, at night, I finish the day with either a run or a yoga flow, which helps me transition from the workday into my personal time.” —Zoë Weiner, Well+Good.
“Work-life balance is just as important when you work at home. If you’re having trouble disconnecting, start your day by not looking at your phone for 30 minutes and doing the same at the end of the day. These small limitations will make it easier for you to build up more boundaries in the long run.” — Ashley Hilmes, Vega Vitality.
“I’ve avoided overwatching or overreading news about the virus. I try to take most of my time to carry on normally and not dwell on the virus, as that can be heavy to dwell on all day.” — Brandon Beatty, Founder & CEO of Bluebird Botanicals
On the body
“Make sure you do at least 10 minutes of movement or stretching a day. This helps release toxins from your body and helps your body with the process of flushing out toxins that occur overnight. Lay on the ground or on your bed and throw your legs up against the wall. You can do this while scrolling through your phone or watching TV.” — Ashley Hilmes, Vega Vitality.
“I’ve been known to ignore my body and overdo it, and my WHOOP has helped me keep that in check. Now more than ever I’m super focused on keeping my body healthy and working properly, and when my recovery score tells me to take it easy (because I didn’t sleep well the night before and my HRV, which indicates overall health, is lower than usual), I actually listen to it.” — Zoë Weiner, Well+Good.
“I’m taking supplements like vitamin D, vitamin C, mushrooms, probiotics, and CBD. And drinking lots and lots of high-quality tea.” — Brandon Beatty, Bluebird Botanicals.
“I work to reduce depression and boost my immune system by working out every day (yes, 7 days a week!) and eating healthy.” — Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, Founder of dreamt.
“Don’t feel pressure to have to commit to intense workouts. A 10 minute walk counts just as well.” — Ashley Hilmes, Vega Vitality.
On the mind
“Being selective in the news I consume, reading, learning and focusing on my yoga and meditation practice has helped me to stay sane and inspired.” — Robert B. Davis, Co-Founder of ALT.
“You can meditate while doing anything. Start with however many minutes work for you. The most important thing is to stick to a routine. Even if that means you start with two minutes and then add another minute each week. Don’t be hard on yourself.” — Ashley Hilmes, Vega Vitality.
“I’m reducing anxiety and stress by keeping myself busy and keeping my work on track: I try to accomplish big and small personal and professional projects.” — Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, dreamt.
“I’ve been doing some yoga and find that being in the now is very energizing. Allowing the past and future to weigh on one takes lots of energy, a point made in the book Intelligence by Osho which I’m currently reading.” — Brandon Beatty, Bluebird Botanicals.