I’ve just returned from a much-needed holiday, a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As I basked in the tranquility, I found myself brimming with new ideas and a renewed sense of inspiration. Before this holiday, all I could think was ‘I need a break!’
It was a stark reminder of something we often forget – we all need a rest. But is resting just a passive indulgence, or is it the secret to happiness, fulfillment, productivity, and joy?
Do you need a break? Stop monetizing your soul
The importance of rest is often overlooked in our fast-paced world.
On a Friday night, when you sit down to enjoy a well earned rest, do you sense that pang of guilt? Are your short moments of quiet and free time plagued by a nagging sense that you could do more?
If so, then you have been hacked by our Western society that places simple productivity as the only measure of success.
A culture which measures value of something purely by its ability to earn money.
Many people who have hobbies and talents outside of work are naturally encouraged to monetize their joy, and engage in the ‘side hustle’. Deep value has been lost; the dollar is king.
The Science of Rest
Writers like Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of the book ‘Rest’, are now arguing that rest is not just a passive state where we recover energy, but an active state where our best ideas can emerge.
According to Pang, rest is a catalyst for creativity and can lead to breakthroughs and innovation. He references studies which show that when our brain engages in rest, it automatically uses the Default Mode Network (DMN).
The DMN is a series of connected brain networks that kick in when we stop concentrating on something. When we’re just staring into space, studies show that this network is still working hard, and helping to process thoughts.
People who have higher creativity or reading skills have also shown stronger and more active connections in their DMN.
This means that you need to stop what you’re doing, stop thinking, and allow your DMN to do the work. It might just be the secret to you solving a long term problem, or even coming up with a great new idea.
Rest and Creativity
Rest and creativity are intertwined. When we rest, our minds are free to wander, explore, and ‘increase creativity’. This is when we often have our best ideas – in the shower, on a walk, or while daydreaming.
It’s no coincidence that many of the world’s greatest thinkers and artists incorporated periods of rest into their routines.
They understood that rest is not the enemy of productivity, but its partner.
The Art of Pausing
Taking a pause or time out from our everyday lives can be incredibly powerful.
It’s in these quiet moments that we can hear our inner voice, our true selves. This is when the magic happens – when we ‘give me ideas’.
A pause can be a moment of silence, a day off, or a week-long holiday. The key is to step away from our routines and allow our minds the freedom to explore and create.
Practical Ways to Rest
So, how can we incorporate rest into our lives? Here are a few strategies:
Prioritize sleep: Ensure you’re getting enough sleep each night. Sleep is a fundamental form of rest that allows our brains to process and consolidate new information.
Be proactive and remember your rest is your responsibility alone: Don’t wait until you’re exhausted. Take short breaks throughout the day to clear your mind and refresh your focus.
Practice mindfulness: Activities like meditation, yoga, or simply sitting quietly can help calm the mind and foster a state of rest.
Pursue leisure activities: Engage in hobbies and activities you enjoy. This can be a form of active rest that stimulates the mind in new ways.
In our quest for productivity, we must not forget the power of rest. It’s in these moments of quiet and relaxation that we often find our greatest inspiration and ‘increase creativity’. So, the next time you feel stuck or uninspired, remember – you might just ‘need a rest’.
I hope this has inspired you to embrace rest and see it not as wasted time, but as a valuable tool for creativity and self-discovery.
Share it with someone who might need a reminder to take a break and rest. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with rest and creativity in the comments below.