MADISON, Wis.—May 4, 2022—The fast pace of American culture is focused on being productive and driven—and always busy. It’s a common refrain when someone is asked how they are doing or what is new: “I’ve been busy.” This frantic pace impacts mental health and well-being.
When the COVID-19 pandemic made the world come to a halt, many people were forced to slow down and discovered that rest was missing from their hectic lives; perhaps experiencing rest for the first time in a long time—although there is a notable difference between rest and isolation. Rest is not a suggestion; it is a necessity. It isn’t an escape or laziness; it is needed for living.
According to Dr. Ken Robbins, Medical Director of Behavioral Health for WPS Health Solutions, rest provides many health benefits, such as reducing stress, lowering the risk of heart disease, restoring mental energy, and better-quality sleep. It improves a person’s mood, immune system, and metabolism.
“Resting is more than napping or watching a show. Resting with intention means disconnecting from our devices completely, reading literature, not in the pursuit of productivity but the pursuit of rest and enjoyment. Spending time with a garden, connecting to nature, working on a puzzle, or creating space to play,” Dr. Robbins says. “All these things and more will benefit our physical well-being and improve overall mental health.”
The world is opening back up, people are returning to their offices, sports are in full swing, and people’s lives are quickly returning to “normal.” Perhaps people should evaluate if returning to the old standard of “I’m busy” is the best thing and look at how to prioritize rest for rejuvenated, recharged, and more connected lives.