There is that point in the day when the eyes burn and we can hardly think straight. We rush through emails, hardly reading them, and pound out responses.
After a day with the children, their sweet, cherubic voices start to pierce our eardrums around 4 p.m.
The television drones painfully in the doctor’s waiting room enticing us to smash the screen to bits.
Our brains need rest. Contrary to the proverb, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” an idle mind is actually a healing mind.
In a study, Rest is Not Idleness, cognitive scientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and colleagues found that MRI scans of wakeful but resting brains showed a rise in neural processing that is otherwise oppressed during focused attention, i.e., work.
So if you’re not resting your brain, you aren’t allowing it to work at its fullest potential. Here are a few ways to disengage.
1) Be Mindful.
Merriam-Webster defines mindfulness as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also: such a state of awareness.”
Read this EmpowHER article Your 10-Step Guide to Mindfulness this Winter for ideas on how to slow yourself down and allow your brain to recuperate in the present moment.
Unplug from everything: TVs, phones, laptops, radio, iPod.
Pay attention to your body and your mind without distractions. Adapt your brain to quiet. Daydream.
3) Take your Forest Medicine.
The Japanese practice Shinrin-yoku, or “forest therapy” as a means of mental and physical healing. Reduced stress, reduced blood pressure and better sleep are just some of the benefits of Shinrin-yoku. Read more here.
4) Indulge in Danish Coziness.
Danes have their own word for restful coziness: hygge.