As a busy parent, you probably feel like you’re on the go all the time. On workdays, you rush from the office to soccer practice. You dedicate your days off to meal prepping and providing meaningful extracurricular activities for your kids.
However, when was the last time you and your loved ones embraced the incredible value of doing nothing? Here’s why rest days are so important and why you should factor them into every aspect of your routine — not just your exercise program.
1. Getting Your Social Groove on
In all your rush to be a productive citizen, you could forget to be a caring, fun, engaging one. Human beings are social creatures, and we need friendships to be our healthy best. Loneliness increases your risk of death from all causes, but you have to dedicate time to forming meaningful connections.
Rest days offer the perfect opportunity to reconnect with those you love the most. Your children appreciate unstructured playtime to develop their social skills, but kicking back with friends is equally vital for adults. It is a vital part of your social health. The best gift you can often give is that of your presence. It’s okay to take a weekend day not for accomplishing household chores or trucking off to the science center. There’s immense therapeutic value in hanging out at home, playing board games and watching silly movies together.
2. Stress Relief
Stress is one of the number one toxins. It sets off a host of unpleasant health effects in your body. Excess cortisol production from too much time under tension can lead to fatty food cravings, resulting in excess notches on your belt. It can lead to high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes — even become life-threatening.
Taking a rest day gives you a precious chance to shuffle off the mantle of pressure and do what you enjoy. What is life for, after all, if not for occasionally indulging your passions? Your rest days give you the chance to embrace that watercolor painting hobby or invent cloud animals with your child in the backyard. It eliminates one of the four principal causes of stress — time pressure — and lets you simply be. The breather is invaluable.
3. Gentle Cross-Training
You probably make squeezing in exercise a part of your daily routine. Your rest day allows you to move your body in ways that please you without worrying about how many calories you burn or reps you perform.
Why not use your rest day to explore a new, gentle form of movement that intrigues you but doesn’t fit into your daily routine? For example, you might try a yin yoga class or tackle a paddleboard class during the warm summer months. You could also share an afternoon at the playground with your kids, getting in movement by chasing them around the park.
4. Inspire Creativity
Have you ever noticed how your most brilliant flashes of insight occur not when you’re focusing hard on figuring out the answer but when you cut loose and do something else? It almost pays to keep that recorder app on your phone ready to go so that you don’t lose your ideas.
Your rest days can help inspire creativity by letting your mind rest. Your brain is, after all, a muscle, and while the tissue might vary from that in your biceps, it can get tired. Pushing too hard to find an answer to a challenging problem too often results in frustration. Walking away and letting your mind relax allows your subconscious to form new neural connections, often resulting in the very answer you seek.
5. Encourage Muscular Development
You should take at least one day off work and exercise each week. Doing so with your workout could encourage better results than hitting the gym hard day after day.
Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. When you rest, specialized fibroblast cells get to work repairing the damage, resulting in stronger biceps and triceps. Without enough time in between workouts, your body doesn’t have sufficient time for this development.
Try not to do movements that are a part of your daily routine on your rest days. If you want to get active like family, try recreational activities like swimming if you run every day or playing golf if you hit the weight room.
6. Explore Other Passions
You are more than the routine you do every day. Your rest days offer the opportunity for you to pursue those passions you don’t normally get to enjoy.
Do you dream of traveling? Even if you don’t have much money, you can throw a dart at a local map and find nearby points of interest to explore. Have you always wanted to create art? Who can stop you from going to your local dollar store and getting some craft materials or paints and a canvas?
Please Take Your Rest Days — They Are Important
Rest days are vital to your overall emotional, mental and physical health. Now that you know why they’re important, plan your next break today.