No matter who we are and what we do, we all have days where we feel tired, sluggish, no motivation. We have ALL been there.
It could just be an ‘off’ day, or it could be something that’s become more and more common for you. That heavy, slow, drained feeling that sneaks in and puts a hold on our productivity and stops us from achieving any goals we set ourselves for the day.
Sound familiar? Then read on! We have a great exercise here called Constructive Rest that can help recharge your batteries and get you back on track. Don’t believe me? Give it a go!
What is Constructive Rest?
Constructive Rest is a tool you can use to snap your body out of that sluggish mindset, give your body and your mind a moment to pause and rest, with the intention to propel to yourself your next activity with purpose, positivity and a fresh start.
This is actually a technique I learnt from an amazing teacher while studying acting in the States. It is something I have carried with me in life and used so many times – before writing an essay, when I was working three jobs, while I was pregnant, the day after the night before (yes, it has helped with hangovers, too!). But most of the time, it’s when I need to take a beat, focus and reset my mind and body so I can move out of a drained, unmotivated mindset and feel ready to tackle the day.
The idea of this exercise in acting class was to leave everything at the door, whatever you were thinking, feeling, letting weigh down your shoulders, and start the class with a blank slate, renewed energy and the sense that you can achieve anything.
How Does Constructive Rest Work?
The more you practice this exercise, the more naturally your body will fall into a state of rest and relaxation, where your mind can switch off and your body can succumb to a relaxed position.
The position that you lie in creates the least tension on your joints, allows your neck to rest from carrying one of the heaviest parts of your body, and the path of least resistance for your heart to pump blood freely through your veins, letting your heart take a little rest, too.
Because you’re in a safe space, your mind will be able to follow suit and relax just like your body, feel as though the tension in your body and any negative, non-productive thoughts can leave your being at the same time, knowing that you are making space for new energy, positive vibes and clear thoughts.
How do I practice this?
First of all, I would highly recommend finding a place that is quiet and private, where you won’t be disturbed and you can relax.
Grab a small towel, thin blanket, or small pillow that you can rest your head on, and lie flat on the floor. Have the soles of your feet flat to the floor, hip width apart, with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
Place your arms across your chest with your hands resting on your shoulders, close your eyes, and feel your body slowly sink into the floor beneath you as your muscles begin to relax.
It’s that simple.
Let your mind forget your day until now, all of the negative thoughts that were floating around, and that tired, heavy feeling.
With each breath feel as though you are letting in new energy, motivated thoughts, positive vibes and allow all of this to create a clear consciousness, making you feel ready to take on the day.
You can do this for five minutes, you can do it for twenty, but the idea of this exercise is to give your body the boost of energy it is craving, give your mind a moment to quiet and use the momentum of this tool to face the next part of your day with a rested body and clear mind.
Whenever I practice Constructive Rest, even if only for a few minutes, I genuinely feel like I’ve just had the best power nap, ready to make that important decision, or tackle my to-do list, or get back into mum-mode when the baby wakes up from his nap.
And remember, the more often you practice this exercise, the easier you’ll find it to relax and get more out of it.