The Importance of Rest

Written by Francine Baffa, LICSW, BCBA-D 
Edited by Joe DeNoon


“It’s precisely those who are busiest who most need to give themselves a break.” – Pico Iyer


When you take a break, or “intentional rest”, it is important to realize that you’re  doing something. As in, you are giving yourself a chance to rebuild and return to balance. Intentional deliberate rest is as essential as food, water, and sleep for total wellness. Restorative breaks give your body time to refuel and get ready for the next period; without them we burn out.

We should also remember that breaks come in many forms.

Physical rest: Do restorative yoga, take a bath, enjoy a nap or engage in breathing techniques.

Mental rest: This can include meditation, staying quiet, listening to music, and walking in nature.

Spiritual rest: This can simply be making time to connect with something larger than yourself, either through prayer, time in nature, or another soul-restoring activity.

Social rest: This can include spending time with people who make you feel good and rejuvenate you or watching a movie or enjoying a play.

At times, the organization we work for can feel like it has a built-in hamster wheel dedicated to the idea that people have a full calendar and that doesn’t allow for people to take creative breaks. Rest can provide you with more in the areas of creative innovation, emotional intelligence, and positive responsiveness.  I believe planned breaks can create better raw materials for your organization, butut they do require some planning and most importantly intentionality.

Research has shown that people who are high achievers adhere to the mindset that rest is not necessary; they think they can get more done if they don’t rest. Truth be told, the most productive people cannot do that unless they are getting adequate rest. 

There is a call to find a healthy and sustainable cadence in our lives. It is vitally important to balance periods of diligent work with periods  filled with intentional rest. Developing an awareness of the pace and rhythm of our lives is necessary. It is key for us to pursue our most important ambitions and to fill our physical, spiritual, and emotional tanks.

Remember if you are trying to get to the next level, you won’t get there empty. Being fully empowered and fully energized requires rest and refueling.

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