7th Day Rest – Start having a STOP day!
One thing I love more than anything is Saturdays! For me, Saturday is my reward for a job well done each week and I can do whatever I like with this one day each week. It is my rest day! Sometimes I say in my pyjamas all day and mooch around the house, on a nice sunny day I enjoy some gardening or a nice walk in the country. Most of the time I try avoid my phone and computer too but since I love to write there are times when I will spend some time writing on my computer – but only if it’s relaxing and restful. Anyone who knows me knows not to ask for my time on a Saturday as I don’t make plans, I just do whatever feels restful for me at that moment. But it’s not just personal preference, there is actually a lot of science behind the importance of having a rest once every seven days. This principle applies to physical exercise as well as mental exercise. Our entire being needs a full day’s rest each week.
“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” —Benjamin Franklin
Here is a great article on CNN by Dr. Matthew Sleeth, former emergency room physician and author of “24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life.” He says that until the last 30 years or so the Western word stopped one day a week. On Sunday’s you couldn’t go shopping, buy petrol or go to the cinema. Even dairy farmers didn’t milk their cows. We recognised the need to switch off for one full day each week.
In the are of physical activity,NASM certified master trainer and a co-owner of MadSweat, Crystal Reeves says, “Inadequate rest may lead to over-training syndrome which commonly occurs in fitness enthusiasts that train beyond their body’s ability to recover.”
Crop rotation is another example of the importance of rest, even the land that we farm need to have periodic rests in order to become arable. How much more don’t our bodies and minds need set aside time to recoup?
Studies show “that people who do not know how to detach from work during their off time experience increased exhaustion over the course of one year and are less resilient in the face of stressful work conditions.”
Read this in-depth, comprehensive guide on creating wellness routines from Groom and Style.
Why 7 days?
It is probably far too detailed and too much to go into in this post but in a nutshell, in scientific circles, the 7 day rest is known as circaseptan rhythms. This is a cycle consisting of 7 days in which many biological processes of life resolve. Neil Nedley, M.D., has reported in his book, Proof Positive, that a “person will tend to have an increase in swelling on the seventh and then the fourteenth day after surgery. Similarly, a person with a kidney transplant is more likely to reject the organ seven days and then fourteen days after the surgery. Research on circaseptan rhythms continues and new relationships are continually being discovered. There are seven day rhythms that have been observed in both human and animal cancers and their response to treatment. Fibrinogen, a blood clotting compound that has been demonstrated to increase the risk of heart attack, has now also been observed to have a seven-day rhythm.” Our bodies are naturally wired to a 7 day rest pattern and when we don’t rest every 7 days we start to see damage occur in our cells.
Benefits of a 7th Day Rest:
- Rest makes your more productive – working more hours actually means less productivity. The most productive countries are Germany and France, each mandating more than 30 days holidays.
- Rest improves short-term memory – memory consolidation occurs when connections between brain cells are strengthened by proper rest. So enjoy a nice nap on your day off too if you like.
- Rest can restore your passion – In a recent Harvard Business Review article, the first recommendation for restoring passion about work is to “call a time-out.” Taking time off will keep you passionate about your work.
Slow down the aging process with regular rest!
Active and Passive Rest
Active Rest is when you have a break from your normal routine but are still actively doing something such as watching a movie, gardening, or playing golf, etc. Passive Rest is when you are literally not doing anything at all – you have no activity and are simply resting.
Times of passive rest are so powerful that weekly times of passive rest can not only heal your body, mind and soul but it can actually slow the aging process! Now you have permission to spend the whole day on the beach sunbathing or a day lying in bed in your pyjamas. If ever you needed an excuse you have one now – enjoy your rest 🙂