There’s almost nothing more important than getting enough rest and good sleep.
Not only does resting help you recharge your energy levels, but it’s also essential for all aspects of physical, mental, and emotional health.
Unfortunately, modern life doesn’t always encourage the most positive habits when it comes to slowing down and recharging. In both work and education, many people encounter constant pressure to dedicate more time for productivity, even if it means sacrificing sleep. People who frequently pull ‘all-nighters’ are seen as inspirational while those who take time off are sometimes frowned upon.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Qi Gong take a different view on the process of slowing down. In TCM, resting and sleep is revered as an important and worthy pursuit with numerous benefits. In this blog post, we discuss six of those benefits that everyone should pay attention to.
1. Process life’s experiences more fully
In order to process what’s going on in your life, it’s important to slow down. If you’re constantly busy, it’s impossible to digest your life experiences.
When you’re constantly busy, it’s hard to maintain a true perspective. Instead of making intentional intentions, it’s easy to slip into a state of reacting to the world around you, or following old habits. When that happens, you’re not really living in a heart-centered place, and instead revert back to habits of old conditioning.
When you take time to rest and recharge through healthy sleep, you’re able to digest life’s experiences and transform them into new insights. This allows you to consciously release patterns that no longer serve you and establish clear intentions for the path ahead. Sometimes, that may mean leaving a job or relationship that is no longer in alignment. At other times, it may mean starting a new project or pursuing an exciting goal that you’ve been putting on the back burner.
If you’ve ever gone camping or backpacking, you’ve probably experienced this shift in perspective. When you step away from your daily routine and immerse yourself in nature, you naturally gain greater clarity on your life as a whole. Deep sleep has a similar effect for day-to-day processing.
2. Let go of stress and anxiety
The shift of perspective that comes with slowing down is usually accompanied by a reduction of stress and anxiety.
If you’re like most people, your mind is constantly thinking about all of the things you need to do. Work, relationships, parenting, and even hobbies require lots of thinking and planning. Even if you love the people and activities in your life, it’s normal for them to cause a certain level of stress and anxiety.
When you slow down and rest, you’re able to release the stress and anxiety from your busy life. Instead of being “stuck” in your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), you’re able to enter a parasympathetic state (rest and digest). This allows your mind and body to fully relax and recharge.
3. Heal your body and mind
The previous point is directly related to another key benefit that resting offers. It allows your body and mind to head.
When you’re constantly busy, your body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated. Your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for keeping you safe when danger is present. It also helps you excel when you’re doing vigorous exercise.
While your sympathetic nervous system is a valuable gift, it also has its drawbacks. When it’s engaged, many of your body’s internal organs aren’t able to perform as well. Therefore, if your sympathetic nervous system is overly active, it can take a toll on your body.
When you slow down and rest, especially during deep sleep, your body is able to shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic. When that shift takes place, your organs, muscles, and other body tissues are able to recover and heal. This makes resting an important part of boosting your immune system and overcoming injuries.
4. Have more energy for the things you love
When you take time to slow down and recharge, a wonderful thing happens. You get more energy to use for the people and activities you love the most.
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of resting, but it’s important nonetheless. In everyday life, your mind and body rely on your internal energy reserves. In fact, ancient Taoist practitioners compared restfulness to the oil that fuels a lamp. The flame in the lamp is everything that manifests in the physical world. Without the oil (rest), it’s impossible to have energy for creativity, joy, or any other form of personal expression. Therefore, rest and relaxation are crucial elements when it comes to cultivating your internal and external energy.
5. Accomplish your goals
People who overwork themselves often believe that they don’t have time to rest and recharge. Ironically, this is a short-sighted perspective that typically leads to burnout. Ironically, a person who gets burned out typically accomplishes less than they would if they had a more balanced approach to work and relaxation.
When you take time to rest and cultivate energy, you’re able to return to work with renewed enthusiasm and creativity. Over time, this helps you accomplish far more than if you didn’t give yourself opportunities to recharge.
6. Cultivate healthier relationships
When it comes to accomplishing ‘relationship goals,’ the importance of rest is even more clear. If you’re always tired and exhausted from pushing yourself too hard, it’s impossible to show up fully for your partner or loved ones. Unfortunately, you probably know someone whose relationship ended because they weren’t present in their personal life.
Taking time to rest allows you to cultivate presentness with the people you care about the most. This includes being able to be emotionally present, as well as enjoy the things you love doing together. These qualities allow you to cultivate deeper and more enriching relationships.
Learn Lee’s Taoist-inspired evening routine to rest and restore your internal energy
Understanding the benefits of rest is one thing, but it’s another to actually know how to transition your body into a state of deep relaxation that’s conducive to good sleep. That’s why Lee has decided to share his very own Taoist-inspired evening routine designed to quiet the mind and shift the body into a state of deep relaxation. He’ll be sharing these practices in our upcoming Rest and Restore workshop.
In Lee’s Rest and Restore workshop, he’ll teach a variety of breathwork, movement, and meditation practices that have been used for thousands of years. Click on the banner below to learn how to let go of overthinking and release stress.