October 07, 2022

The Importance of Rest with Laura Henshaw

As much as I absolutely love my fast-paced daily routine, moving my body and my nimble work environment I know how important it is to make sure that I give myself adequate time to rest. When I stop and rest, the positive impact it has on my body and mind never fails to surprise me.

When I allow myself time to rest, not only am I combatting my stresses and giving myself a chance to relax, but I’m actually able make more out of the times that I do move my body and harness my brain power.

When I prioritise time to rest, here’s what happens:

  • I’m not starting an intense KIC workout or a run with sore or fatigued muscles meaning that I’m able to hit every rep and step with energy;
  • I’m not entering an important meeting or presentation with a clouded and stressed mind meaning I’m able to be even more attentive and on the ball;
  • I’m not waking up each morning stressed with a shorter fuse meaning that I’m able to approach my day-to-day tasks more calmly, even when they don’t go to plan; and
  • I’m not missing out on some of my favourite self-care activities, meaning I’m able to really enjoy time watching Netflix (while enjoying some chocolate) or immersing myself in a new book.

I’ve come to realise that without making time for rest, my life is actually worse off. When I don’t rest, the stresses from day to day life slowly build up and before I know it, something that wouldn’t ordinarily bug me or cause me to feel overwhelmed, does.

Now I want to emphasise that being able to get comfortable with the idea of rest and taking some time for yourself can be really hard. We live in a society which glamorises “the grind” and constantly tells us to keep pushing to achieve more and be better. I don’t deny that these aren’t fantastic things to strive for and work hard to achieve, but I also think it’s super important that we’re able to remove ourselves from this societal pressure (especially from all the content we see and absorb on social media). Just because you see everyone smashing out an intense morning workout, doesn’t mean you have to that day too.

In all honesty, learning to take time to rest is something that I’ve struggled with as when I rest, I sometimes feel like I’m not being as productive with my time, hitting my workout goals or making the most out of my day. But, this is a thought pattern that I am actively trying to change by reminding myself of those benefits that I listed above. I am learning to be more kind and gentle on myself and listen to my body instead. The time I need and take to rest and how I rest will be different to yours, so be sure to make rest all about YOU (try not to compare yourself to others for the art of comparison can be so dangerous). I encourage you to be confident in owning your rest.

I also want to digress just a little to talk about rest in relation to exercise. For so long I neglected resting (i.e. not working out) and I didn’t realise the immense benefits of taking rest when it came to movement. When thinking about rest in relation to exercise, I also find myself thinking about ‘recovery’, for rest is such an important part of a good recovery and maximising the next workout.

For me, recovery includes a proper cool down, good post workout nutrition and rehydration, REST and sleep. So, as part of my mission to rest more, I also made sure to properly fuel my body (even on the days I’m not as active), get a good night’s sleep, stretch after an intense workout and have days where I don’t work out and let my body rest.

Currently, I’m moving my body 3 to 5 times each week – how many times I can exercise and how long for is always changing due to my commitments. Most importantly however, I try my best to listen to my body and if instead of working out I need to rest and catch up on some sleep or read a few chapters of my book, I don’t beat myself up for it. I try to never ever associate this decision with a lack of productivity, rather, I take a moment to be proud of myself for listening to my body and acknowledging that movement isn’t going to be productive right now.

By no means have I mastered the art of rest yet, but the more I practice it, the more I realise how truly valuable it is. So, I hope that you too can begin to incorporate more rest into your week and are able to make mainstream again the lost practice of rest.


Laura xxxx

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Laura Henshaw