By Aparna Khanolkar
Rest is fundamental to our well-being. Are you getting enough?
Resting in a meditative state (from meditation and sleep) brings about a restful awareness. With restful awareness, you are not responding to life’s situations in a state of stress. Instead you are conscious, calm, clear and trusting in making decisions in your life.
What happens when you are not well- rested? Firstly, you experience fatigue. You may compensate for it with coffee and tea. Over time, this fatigue is exacerbated and will lead to a depressive state and mental fog. Now your decisions and choices are made from that fatigued state. And the cycle continues.
In many cultures including my own Indian culture, rest is not a luxury. Short naps are good for us in the West where life is so fast-paced that our minds can’t keep up. A short nap will help you tremendously in feeling your best. I meditate each afternoon and take a 10 minute nap afterwards. This helps me have adequate energy for the remainder of my day and for the duties and doings of my life.
Sleep is essential for proper immune function.
In Ayurvedic texts it is said that the hours of sleep before midnight are most beneficial. On average, most of us need at least 7.5 hours a sleep a night. Staying up too late each night creates a habit. How to get back to a healthy sleep routine? Start by going to bed half an hour earlier than your usual routine. If you can’t sleep, do not get up. Stay in bed and practice deep breathing. Each night, go to bed another half hour earlier till you can go to bed by 10 p.m.at the latest.
When you sleep, your nervous system gets a much- needed deep rest. If you do not sleep enough, your nervous system will not function optimally. It’s really that simple. You don’t need that second wind to do more chores or write more emails or watch more TV.
Sleep. Rest. Know that all is well.
Anxiety is a most obvious sign of inadequate rest/sleep. The best medicine for that is meditation. Make a habit of meditating twice a day. Even if only for 10 minutes each. Also, practice the art of self-massage with warm oil. This will bring great balance and rest to the body/mind.
If you can’t massage yourself each day, warm some oil and apply it to your crown chakra and massage gently. Also massage your feet with warm oil and soak your feet in warm water. Applying some warm oil to the forehead is also calming. This should also help relax you and prepare for a blissful night of sleep. Drinking a cup of warm milk boiled with cardamom, saffron, nutmeg and cinnamon is also soothing for the body/mind. Lastly, spending a few minutes reflecting on all that you are grateful for is also a restful way to end your day.
When you practice the art of self-love, you will enjoy taking care of yourself. You are sacred, divine and your body temple and your mind need rest for rejuvenation. Each day you can live an optimal life of joy, bliss, trust and ease when you take care of yourself. The more you take care of yourself, the more connected you become to your own consciousness. Your consciousness is your well-spring for great health, happiness and bliss.