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  • Writer's pictureSophie de Albuquerque

Five ways to recover from lockdown: 5) everything works better when we rest

Sunlight shining through tall trees, from the ground
Photo by Anton Atanasov

Catching up on rest

Rest is vital. Our mental and physical health depends on it. When we're rested, everything goes better, from work and studying to relationships and parenting.

The demands of lockdown have been taxing on a deep level, and for some of us, recovery is going to be slow. That's OK. We've had to draw on our reserves of energy for a long time. So allow yourself plenty of time to recuperate, rather than expecting to bounce back quickly.

Winding down

As we feel the natural excitement and fears around life opening back up, and because we've been in survival mode for so much of the past year, it can be hard to switch gear, to slow down and relax.

Here are a few ideas to experiment with, to support and encourage rest and relaxation.

Daytime rest is allowed

It can feel rebellious to rest during the day, but try it. Set aside however long you can, from ten minutes to an hour or more, and create the conditions you need to relax.

Make a hot drink, get under a blanket, listen to music, a podcast or an audio book, or shut the curtains and watch a film. Or make the most of good weather by sitting outside, getting comfortable and breathing deeply.

Physical activity

Getting enough exercise during the day is important for our health in so many ways, and it's vital to getting good sleep. It's also a great way to deal with anxiety or a busy mind, bringing our minds and bodies into better balance.

So make sure you're getting enough physical activity during the day, and it'll help you to feel ready to relax and rest when you get to bedtime.

Yoga to help sleep

There are some easy breathing exercises and yoga poses you can do before bedtime to help you sleep, like these outlined in yoga for better sleep on the Harvard Health blog.

You can also try Yoga Nidra, a form of guided meditation for deep sleep. Yoga London lists five free yoga nidra sessions that you can try.

A bedtime routine

This is something a lot of us do for young children, and it can be really helpful for adults too. Try making your own bedtime ritual, to signal to your mind and body that it's time to rest.

Make a hot drink (something relaxing like this golden milk), switch your phone off, use sensory cues to help relaxation (try Tisserand's Sleep Better range), and opt for activities that don't need a screen, like music or reading.

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