Resting isn’t as easy as it sounds. Yet learning how to rest is important for nearly everything that takes a toll on your body from the common cold to burnout. Many of us think no physical activity means resting. But it’s so much more. There are many other activities that drain our energy like planning, emails, texting, shopping and making decisions to name just a few. This is why lying in bed with your computer doing online shopping or pondering the crossword puzzle are not necessarily rest. These activities do not give your mind and body the break it needs.

The challenge is there is no set formula for rest. It depends on an individual’s perception of what rest feels like for them. For some people it might be meditating, for another person it might be playing the drums. According to caring science research, rest involves the alignment of motivation, feeling and action and continually moving towards either a state of rest or non-rest. In other words, we use our energy to get things done and then rest to build it back again. However, when we continue in non-rest activities when we need to rest, it places additional drain on our mental and physical energy making it more difficult to build it up again.

Restful activities or activities that restore our energy are commonly quiet and effortless, vary between individuals, can be done alone or with others and involve nurturing the body, soul and spirit. Here are some ideas to help you find your best rest:

Find Your Rhythm. This means finding your balance between using and rebuilding energy. Examples of rest and non-rest rhythms are the week and weekend or being inside and getting out in nature. This could also apply to breaks during the day or temporarily switching your attention from non-restful activities to restful activities. For example, working for an hour and then taking a five-minute walk outside to restore your energy.

Find Restful Relationships. Find activities that increase a sense of belonging and acceptance. A restful relationship can involve activities based on common interests where people voluntarily participate in an activity together to accomplish something that produces mutual pleasure and harmony.

Find a Place of Calm. Allocate time to slow down for a while to renew energy. It could mean temporarily detaching from pressure and demands and taking time to relax, reflect and recover. For example, spending time in nature.

Find Joy. Perceiving pleasurable sensations can restore energy. Taking part in an activity that involves beauty or creativity such as music or art without pressure or feeling constrained by time can provide temporary freedom from tiredness that helps you to gain a new perspective. For example, watching the ocean, listening to music or drawing.