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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Porritt

Rest: The Overlooked Secret to Success and Wellness

“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol”. Brené Brown

Rest is often undervalued and misunderstood. While sleep is crucial for physical and mental health, rest encompasses much more than just getting enough shut-eye. True rest involves taking intentional breaks to relax and rejuvenate, allowing our bodies and minds to recover from daily stressors. In this blog, we'll delve into the multifaceted benefits of rest, the importance of employers ensuring their employees are well-rested, and the societal pressures that discourage prioritizing rest. We'll also explore how regular reflexology and other complementary therapies can help cultivate and maintain restful habits.

The Benefits of Rest

Rest is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Improved Mental Health: Regular rest helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, as it reduces stress hormones in the body. It allows the brain to process emotions and experiences, leading to better emotional regulation and mental clarity. Without adequate rest, individuals may become more irritable, anxious, and prone to mood swings. Rest helps maintain emotional stability and resilience.

  2. Enhanced Physical Health: Rest reduces the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. It also aids in muscle recovery, reduces inflammation, and boosts the immune system. Physical rest is also essential for muscle recovery and repair. When we rest, our bodies produce growth hormones that aid in tissue repair and muscle growth. This is particularly important after exercise or physical exertion, as it helps reduce muscle soreness and prevent injuries.

  3. Increased Productivity and Creativity: Rest is crucial for brain health. During periods of rest, especially quiet wakefulness, the brain processes information, consolidates memories, and strengthens neural connections. This downtime improves focus, problem-solving abilities, and creativity. Taking breaks and resting can lead to improved focus, productivity, and creativity. When we are well-rested, we can think more clearly and solve problems more effectively.

  4. Better Relationships: Rest helps improve our mood and patience, leading to healthier and more fulfilling relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.

  5. Balances the autonomic nervous system: The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate. Rest helps balance the two branches of the ANS: the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the 'fight or flight' response) and the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for 'rest and digest' activities). This balance is crucial for maintaining homeostasis and overall health.

  6. Enhances Metabolic Health: Rest has a positive impact on metabolic health by regulating blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes. It also helps control appetite by balancing hormones like ghrelin and leptin, which influence hunger and satiety.


Regardless of the well-documented benefits of rest, intentionally setting aside time to rest has become undervalued and underappreciated in today’s culture. We have become an overworked, overstressed, and exhausted society, constantly fearing that our commitment to our jobs and our careers will be questioned if we cannot boast about 60-hour workweeks and off-the-scale productivity.

The Societal Stigma Around Rest

Despite the clear benefits, society often looks down on those who prioritise rest. This stigma is rooted in several factors:

  • Culture of Busyness: In many cultures, being busy is seen as a sign of success and productivity. Rest is often wrongly perceived as laziness or a lack of ambition. Too much

  • Workplace Expectations: Many workplaces have high expectations for constant availability and productivity, discouraging employees from taking breaks or time off.

  • Lack of Education: There is a general lack of understanding about the importance of rest and its benefits. Many people are unaware of how crucial rest is for their health and well-being.

  • The culture of money and materialism: the desire for more and more money and what that means is paramount. It seems that to be truly happy your home must always be clean and tidy, your living room must display the latest trends in order to be ‘gram worthy. Not to mention a gorgeous looking holiday with the ubiquitous tag “#makingmemories”. All that housework does not leave much time for ensuring your parasympathetic nervous system is working optimally by getting 8 hours sleep a night…

  • How Success is defined: Success is often wrongly equated with material wealth and possessions—big homes, expensive cars, and sizable savings accounts. However, true success should be about meaningful impact and personal fulfilment. Achieving this kind of significance often requires taking time to rest and reflect on what truly matters in life.

  • The Constant Connectivity of Modern Life: The advent of electricity and the Internet has made it possible to stay connected and active around the clock. This perpetual connectivity makes it easy to prioritize work and online interactions over rest, pushing relaxation to the back burner.

  • The Addiction to Distraction: Our minds have grown accustomed to constant stimulation from emails, social media, and other digital platforms. This addiction to distraction makes it challenging to disconnect and truly rest, as our brains crave continuous engagement.

  • The Overwhelming Sense of Urgency: We are inundated with information and demands that create a constant sense of urgency. This overwhelming flow of tasks and notifications often leads us to prioritize immediate needs over important, long-term well-being, with rest being one of the first casualties.

  • The Incompatibility of Rest and Modern Pacing: Society today is obsessed with efficiency and quick results. We expect rapid outcomes in all areas of life, from fitness to cooking to photography. However, genuine rest cannot be expedited; it requires time, patience, and a commitment to slow down and allow the body and mind to recuperate fully.

  • Beyond Physical Rest: Rest is often misunderstood as merely physical relaxation. In reality, it encompasses mental, emotional, and spiritual rejuvenation. True rest involves recognizing that the world will continue without our constant input, allowing us to disconnect from work and focus on self-care and personal relationships. It’s about restoring balance to both body and soul.

People who do not prioritise rest are at risk of an emotional burnout, which could look like a permanent loss of energy, lack of motivation and interest, low concentration, and deterioration in cognitive abilities. Not to mention that burnout can lead to severe depression.

Why Employers Should Prioritize Rest for Employees

Employers play a crucial role in ensuring their employees get enough rest so that their business does not end up in the hands of unproductive, unhappy and passive workers., Here’s why it’s beneficial for both the employer and the employee:

  1. Reduced Burnout: Encouraging rest and relaxation can help prevent burnout, which is a growing issue in many workplaces. Employees who are well-rested are more engaged, motivated, and productive.

  2. Lower Absenteeism: Well-rested employees are less likely to take sick days, reducing absenteeism and associated costs for the company.

  3. Enhanced Performance: Employees who take regular breaks and rest are more likely to perform at their best, leading to higher quality work and better outcomes for the business.

  4. Improved Workplace Morale: A culture that values rest can lead to higher employee satisfaction and morale, fostering a positive work environment and reducing turnover rates.

Building Restful Habits Through Reflexology and Complementary Therapies

Regular reflexology and other complementary therapies are excellent ways to incorporate rest into your routine. Here are some suggestions, which just happen to be available from my own treatment menu:

·    Reflexology: This therapeutic practice involves applying pressure to specific points on the feet, hands, or ears. It can help reduce stress, improve circulation, and promote relaxation, making it an effective way to encourage restful habits.

·    Reiki: This energy healing practice helps balance the body’s energy, promoting deep relaxation and reducing stress.

·    Aromatherapy: The use of essential oils can create a calming environment, helping to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.

·    Massage Therapy: Techniques such as hot lava shell massage and Indian head massage can help relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, and promote overall relaxation.

·    Hopi Ear Candles: This practice can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm, making it easier to rest and relax.

Incorporating these therapies into your routine can help you build habits that prioritise rest and relaxation, leading to a healthier, more balanced life.

To conclude rest is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle, offering numerous benefits for mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Employers should recognise the importance of rest and create environments that support it. As individuals, we need to challenge societal stigmas and prioritise rest for our health and happiness.

By embracing rest, we can achieve greater balance, productivity, and overall well-being.




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