Do you ever get the feeling that your brain wants or needs a rest because it is working the whole goddamn time?
That’s why it’s called mental health (but it’s the opposite because it’s exercising the whole time and it never gets a rest, whereas I’m always resting and never exercising when it comes to physical health. Hahahahaha!!!!)
Just as your body needs to rest, because that’s when the recovery and repairing happens, so does your brain.
That’s why when you’re sick you need to rest. When you over-do it physically and get an injury you need to rest the injury. If you break your ankle, you rest your ankle so it can recover and repair. Well it’s exactly the same with the brain. It needs a rest every once in a while. If you don’t rest your brain ever, it will get overworked or fatigued and can even lead to an “injury”. Heard of Rushing Women Syndrome? Ever been unable to sleep because your brain wont turn off? For Bec and I, it was a break down. That “injury” to our mental state was healed by resting and recovering, just like any other injury, and now? Now it’s good to go again.
It might not always be a large injury. It might not be a broken ankle. Maybe you’ve just sprained it. It won’t take as long to recover. And maybe you’ll know to nurse it along for a while…until it gets better. And then it’ll be fine again…BUT you’ll be more careful about it happening again.
Mental health is the same. Sometime’s it’s not a breakdown, it’s just a rough day and the rest and recovery it needs is a yoga class. Or some time out to go for a stroll. Some people jump on the treadmill. Or meditate. Go for walks in nature. Practice mindfulness. It all contributes to your mental health by allowing your brain to grab some essential R&R.
But what about mental stability? There’s no point in resting and recovering if all you’re going to do is go back to your old habits and inflict damage which will need to be repaired again. This is when prevention is the best treatment. Mental stability means that when you get to a good place, you gotta keep it that way. You can’t do a yoga class and feel like a million bucks and then not do anything for another few months and fall back into a bad mental state. You can’t yo-yo back and forth, you’ve got to stay at that good place, that sweet spot. Sure, some days it’ll tip more one way than the other, but then you do what you need to do to tip it back to again. The same with physical health: you’re aiming for balance the whole time right? Not trying to force your body towards too skinny or letting it get too fat, just where it naturally sits or balances when you’re looking after your physical health.
I personally rest my brain every single day. I don’t even do it out of necessity anymore, I do it because I want to. I’ve created such a wonderful habit, such a wonderful way to give my brain what it needs, that I get enjoyment from doing it and from having done it. Every night after my relaxing shower I head for the bedroom. I put one of my favourite playlists at the time, light a few scented candles, ensure there is chocolate in my bedside drawers (just in case I need it – it’s more knowing that it’s there than anything else), grab a glass of water, a hot mug of tea and my yoga bolster. The act of setting this all up for myself makes me happy on its own. I love that I get to treat myself like this every single day.
Don’t be stupid. You don’t have to buy into the cultural ADHD that we see every day in society: you know, those people who are too busy to stop and have a glass of water, so have to be constantly sipping on a water bottle that they carry around all day, or the ones who are too busy to spend ten minutes reading the paper with their morning coffee in a cafe so insist on getting it to go. (How is sipping on your coffee on the run enjoyable by the way? Isn’t it so much nicer to sit down for ten and enjoy the darn thing?!) If the Italians can do it why can’t you find ten minutes?! Or those people who jump up and react every time their phone beeps. What, you can’t not look at it for an hour while you give your brain some lovin’? You have to jump literally every time it beeps at you? It doesn’t own you, you know. Or those people who are literally so “busy and important” that they can’t even get up from their desk during the day to take a five minute stroll in the fresh air to clear the head and stretch the body.
Give your brain what it deserves. Give it the rest it needs. Your brain doesn’t serve you when it’s constantly thinking, when there are constant thoughts whirring around in there. Scared you’ll forget those thoughts? Get them outta your head and onto a piece of paper. Love your brain. Give it time out. Don’t have time? Get your priorities in order and make time. You’ve only got one and if you don’t look after it, it wont look after you. So care for it. Give it some love by giving it some rest. It will serve you so much better if you do.
How do you rest your brain? Do you do it regularly? Do you do it enough? – Share in the comments below!