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We all need to do this more.

Rest up, that is.

But how do you best like to take a break?

Is there one form that’s better than another?

Should you head for the beach, your favourite coffee shop or snuggle down into your favourite armchair?

The answer is, it depends.

It depends on you, your personality and what you know works best to restore and recharge your physical and mental batteries.

There is no one best way to take a rest.


Well, just as we are all completely unique snowflakes because no two brains share exactly the same neural architecture, how we respond to our different challenges, stresses and strains will be different too.

And sometimes we have THOSE days where everything looks a delicate shade of “Mission Brown”

(Whoever thought that was a nice colour to use on the exterior paintwork on our houses in the seventies and eighties needed to have their head examined.)

A “Mission Brown” Day is the day you take refuge under the doona, carefully examine the refrigerator for MDD support foods or cancel your Facebook account to exit all contact with the cruel world, well at least until tomorrow.


It’s got a quiet calming feel about it. It draws us in, calms us down and helps us sort out the grubby Mission Brown so we can get back to Inspiring Yellow.

Rest for my hubby is about doing those things he loves including

Listening to jazz, or playing the blues on his saxophone.

Tinkering with something electronic that needs fixing.

Spending time with his mates down at the men’s shed (a hangar) down at the local airfield or going for a fly (in a plane – he’s not Superman.)

For him rest is something he can achieve on his own, but also by spending time with others.

Rest for me is solitude, time out to be alone in a quiet place with sunshine, warmth and greenery.

What does rest look like to you?

Getting enough rest.

The other issue of course is how can we get enough?

You might have really loved getting away for that long weekend break with your partner, but if that only happens once in a blue moon, there’s definitely more room for many more rest breaks, especially if you’re always super busy, doing ten squillion things every day as well as looking after your work, your kids, your partner and the dog.

Rest comes in different forms and time frames; mini, minor and major.

The Mini Rest.

It’s easy to overlook the value of a mini rest but taking a couple of minutes out of your day, to press pause and breathe can make a mountain of difference to your energy, productivity and happiness.

The mini-rest is super exclusive because this is yours only to savour and enjoy. Hurrah!

Start by scheduling in some brain breaks into your day.

If your day is back-to-back meetings, appointments and “stuff-that-has-to-be completed-by-the end-of-the-day-or-I’m-in-big-trouble” block your time into chunks of focused work separated by two or three intervals of 2,3 – 10 minutes of unfocused non-thinking time, and no this is definitely not the time to check your social media.

A mindful moment can be as small as taking three slow breaths to influence your vagal tone, slow down your heart rate, rate of breathing, stress levels and settle your thoughts.

(Feels good, doesn’t it!)

Find something green to look at, the pot plant on your desk will do, as does looking out of the window onto a green space. A mini day-dream can fire up your imagination and creativity, so don’t be afraid to loosen up from your focus periodically. After all we’re not designed for long-term focus, it’s the fastest route to mental exhaustion.

This could be the time to get a drink of water and rehydrate your brain cells, top up your coffee cup or get up for a stretch. Standing up for 2-3 minutes gives your body and brain a breather, boosts your attention and reduces the risks associated with prolonged sitting. It’s a great mini-refresher.

The Minor Rest.

This is an extension of the mini-rest and lasts between 15-20 minutes.

This could be your chance to escape the office at lunchtime to get some fresh air and sunshine, to go for a walk or a jog.

It could be the time to catch up with a friend or colleague.

Or the time for a post-prandial 20-minute power nap after lunch to power up your energy for the afternoon.

Or the time to find a quiet place to meditate or think deeply. Scheduling in time to think helps you to sort out your priorities, realign your focus and helps to prevent procrastination!

The Major Rest.

Once you’re in the groove of more mini and minor rest time, it’s time to power up for those major rests beyond work. This is about taking time out for yours truly. Yes, you. This isn’t selfish, it’s essential self-care to keep you in tip top condition, and more resilient and adaptive to whatever shows up.

This rest includes the time to do those things that give you joy, whatever that looks or feels like – cooking, exercising, socialising, sleeping or spending time with your partner and kids.

Major rests include those scheduled breaks for over the weekend, once a quarter or a vacation. Planning ahead makes these more likely to happen and the anticipation of that welcome rest will top up your dopamine levels keeping you feeling rewarded.

With 55% of us failing to take our annual leave, the best time to book your next holiday, is on your return from the last one.

Are you getting enough rest?

How can you add more rest to your day to enjoy greater effectiveness, efficiency and conserve energy?

If rest has been missing in action from your life for too long, it’s time to get out the Rest Planner and book your next rest time now.

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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