Rest plays an important role in our well-being. It is essential to recognize that rest is more than just ensuring quality sleep; rather, rest is also how we nourish and energize our bodies throughout the day. For example, some people feel well-rested after watching movies alone, while others reenergize when socializing with large groups of people. While there are seemingly endless possibilities of ways to rest, it’s also important to pause and inquire: how does rest promote healing? Before we dive into the different variations of rest, we first need to establish what rest is and why it’s important.
Rest is subjective and can mean different things to different people. The overall concept of rest is usually intertwined with sleeping in addition to taking a break from tasks and other responsibilities. While these are extremely important parts of rest, they are not the only concepts that could be considered restful. It is also crucial to acknowledge mental and emotional rest and its role in promoting overall wellness.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) explains the important part that sleep plays in our bodies. It describes sleep as being as crucial to our existence as food and water are and that, without it, it is very difficult to function. A publication by NINDS states, “Without sleep you can’t form or maintain the pathways in your brain that let you learn and create new memories, and it’s harder to concentrate and respond quickly.”
NINDS also reiterates that sleep is vital to every cell in the body, explaining, “Sleep affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body – from the brain, heart, and lungs to metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance.” They go on to detail, “Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.”
Mental rest can look different from person to person. Some people find it restful to get lost in a book or redecorate a room. Others may need to seek out assistance from friends, family, and professionals to calm their minds and emotions. Licensed clinicians, like the ones at Sage Recovery, may use the following innovative techniques to help their patients effectively promote restful states:
In addition, achieving quality rest requires individuals to incorporate variations of self-care into their daily routines. This could include:
Furthermore, many people find it restful to release any pent-up energy through physical activity. Some may choose to engage in intentional activities like gardening or working with tools. Others may go out for a run, lift weights, or play sports.
Nonetheless, research has shown that physical health and mental health are directly linked, as active people tend to have overall better mental health than those who don’t move their bodies consistently. In a publication by Current Behavioral Neuroscience Report, the authors confirm, “Studies have also found that physical activity reduces the symptoms of depression as effectively as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), pharmacotherapy, and even bright light therapy in individuals with MDD [major depressive disorder].”
Moreover, many physical activities contain intentional mental health components. An example of this can be found in practices such as yoga. Yoga is an ancient practice that incorporates meditation, breathwork, and physical movement into one practice. By syncing breath and meditation with physical movement, it allows the body and brain to reconnect healthily.
Yoga instructors teach their students to focus on their breath while setting aside any stressful feelings or thoughts during the session. This type of meditation allows the person to acknowledge that feelings and thoughts exist, but they don’t need to be dealt with right at that moment. As a result, it allows the body and nervous system to relax enough to feel at ease before entering back into the stress of everyday life. This can be extremely liberating for people who deal with chronic stress or anxiety.
Here at Sage Recovery, we believe there are multiple pathways to healing. As a result, most of our techniques are complementary and focus on different aspects of rest. For example, individuals can attend counseling and art therapy, which could provide them with mental and emotional rest. They can also use yoga and nature immersion to reap the benefits of physical movement and associated emotional rest.
Our innovative and customizable techniques set us apart from other facilities. Other therapeutic approaches that help prove rest promotes healing include:
No matter what has brought you to Sage Recovery, you can rest assured that we will be able to help you heal healthily. Whether you need to attend an outpatient or residential program for substance use or need to see a counselor about your mental health, we have something for everyone. Our entire staff is extensively trained to provide trauma-informed care, which ensures that every person who interacts with our staff will be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. The number one priority is helping our patients heal healthily, so we plan on walking alongside you every step of your journey. Reach out to us at (512) 306-1394 for more information and support.