When was the last time you spent 6 hours in nature, or quietly reading a book, or sipping coffee writing and journaling your thoughts? Maybe you don’t think you need rest or feeling guilty taking time for yourself. With dishes to do, laundry to wash, spending time by yourself seems like a luxury item and there’s no budget to pay the bill.
Rest is necessary, and if you think you don’t get enough or feel tired, you might want to schedule some hours in each day for your physical, emotional, and mental health.
Eighteen thousand people from 134 countries volunteered to share their relaxation habits with researchers of The Rest Test. The results showed how on average people spend 3.5 hours a day in rest. Reading one of best alone-time with time spent in nature as second. Attitudes on rest were also measured, and individuals who felt rested scored twice as high and people who said they could use more.
Doing activities that involved no focused attention didn’t provide as much relaxation, so resting while sipping coffee, folding laundry, silenced the inner critic. The mind’s chit chatter speaks loudest during alone time when doing nothing at all.
People who resisted taking breaks expressed a need to be productive or fear that they would not get everything on their list done for that day. Maybe you’re not used to spending time alone. I had to learn to love my alone time, but it didn’t come naturally to me.
Appreciation for personal time grew once I was a mother of two and each minute of the day was spoken for unless my children were asleep. Most of the time, when they slept, I slept too.
Selfishness was another reason why people choose to rest less in comparison to those who saw down time as self-care. At first, me-time didn’t feel like something I needed. There were moments I felt selfish for wanting it. I wanted to be a good mother and to me, that meant giving my all.
I knew my children missed me when I wasn’t around, and I didn’t want to miss a milestone, either. What if my child took his first step when I was away? What if a word was spoken and I would have to hear the big news from someone else? Childhood lasts for a short while. I reasoned that I’d get my time alone when the children were off to school.
Partnering up with someone for relaxation and seeing it as part of how a person does life helps, according to the study. My personal experience resonates with this idea. After my mom volunteered to watch the kids while they slept so I could do some grocery shopping. Even though I spent an hour food shopping, the silence was pure bliss! When I made it back home, I felt ready to take on the world.
My mind was clearer. My heart was more receptive to love. I even slept better that night. Suddenly, alone time didn’t feel selfish. It was a necessary part of being a good mom. My quiet hour, no matter if it was spent reading, writing, or just sitting by the window sipping coffee and watching the clouds roll in, each uninterrupted brought vitality to my spirit. It’s encouraged me to make it a daily goal, even though my oldest is fully grown.
Science says that the brain is wired to benefit from rest, and alone time isn’t just for moms, but dads need it too, maybe more than one would think. The study revealed men claimed to have less time than they needed for rest, but the amount of time they did rest was 10 minutes longer than women.