FAQ – The importance of active rest

Wellbeing is a buzzword at the moment, but who wouldn’t want to be a well being? Rest is critical for physical and mental health, as well as our relationships, and it’s critical for the success of our business. In order to look after our business we need to make sure we’re not working in a way that harms our bodies or our minds…

If you work out at the gym or do high intensity sports, you may have heard the term active rest or active recovery. Doing vigorous physical activity every day means the body doesn’t have time to repair. Active rest means you’re still moving, still getting the blood flowing around the body and brain, but putting less stress on the body so it can repair from the high impact workouts or sports.

But active rest is a great idea for all of us, to look after both our physical and mental health. It means taking time out of our jobs and doing something else, not just sitting on the sofa gaming or watching telly.

What’s that got to do with decorating?

Being a decorator can not only be a physically demanding job, but also mentally demanding. There’s the stress of getting jobs done in time, of finding the next contract, of getting invoices paid on time, of dealing with stress when things don’t go to plan, maybe sometimes dealing with customers who are a bit of a pain in the butt. Sometimes we can feel like we have to always be on the ball, never shutting off. 

When it all goes wrong

Most of us know people for whom it’s all got too much and they burn out, perhaps it’s happened to you. Sometimes we work so hard that tiredness results in a lapse in concentration, causing a serious accident – that happened to me.

It’s all very well having a hard work ethic, but not when it comes to the cost of your health or relationships.

How to rest actively

It may seem counter-intuitive to ‘rest actively’, but doing it well is really refreshing. For people who are more extraverted and feel energised by being with people, it can involve hanging out with family or friends. For people who are more introverted and get revitalised by spending time alone, it may mean getting away from the hustle and bustle of life to recharge.

Active rest can involve properly resting your mind, whether that’s by meditation, gentle exercise, or spending time on your favourite hobby. 

Spending time in nature is a really good way to rest actively. Going for a walk, or a holiday to a rural or seaside location. It’s been shown that spending just 11 minutes in green space has a positive physical effect on our brains. I had the idea for this article while taking the dog for a walk at dusk. Just wondering what to write about made me think how useful just walking is. I was taking a break from work, but still being active, and here we are. 

What are the benefits of active rest?

Not only can active rest give your body a break, and allow it to repair itself, but it can give your mind and emotions a rest, allowing you to recharge and even gain new perspectives. 

Doing something active that doesn’t involve having to concentrate can give your mind a chance to consider your life and work. It can give you ideas to take your business forwards, or go in a different way. 

Using active rest to work on your business

So many of us are caught in the hamster wheel of doing, doing, doing… Of working IN our businesses doing the day to day jobs, we often don’t make the time to work ON our business. Thinking about how can you work more intelligently? Are you doing the kind of work you enjoy? Who could you collaborate with? 

No excuses – you need rest

It’s so easy to say that we haven’t got time for rest, we’ve got work commitments and family commitments, but not resting can have a negative effect on both work and personal lives.

Active rest is not about switching off, it’s about becoming refreshed. Yes, it’s important every day to have rest time and to sleep, but that’s giving your brain and body its necessary daily break. What we’re talking about is purposeful rest, reconnecting rest. Active rest is not about switching off, it’s about switching back on.