Although I have no trouble relaxing and completely logging off while on holidays, I tend to be more hesitent in taking rest days when I need them during my “usual life”. I’m naturally an active person, and need for my own sanity to do some work or go outside and move a little bit every single day. I’m a PhD student, and very fortunate in that I have a very flexible schedule and can work at the times when I feel more productive, and rest when I feel sluggish. One thing I am still working on is to feel less guilty when taking rest days in the middle of the week (ie. Monday through Friday). There are days when you’ll find me at the office at 9am ready to smash the day, and there are others when I just feel like my brain is disconnected from just about everthing and all the reports I read are chinese to me – I then just have to surrender and accept I am just not in a good position to work, and that taking a rest is fine.
Same goes with the gym. I’m more of a morning person, so I’ll wake up, eat brekkie with coffee, then go straight to the gym. I also have a smartwatch and pride myself on walking on average 12,000+ steps per day usually. So it’s kinda hard not to feel weird when taking a full day of rest with minimal movement if not a light brisk. But it’s also important to lsiten to your body and brain cues. These past days, I’ve been feeling kinda weak at the gym, and I just understood the need for my body and brain to rest for a day or two. Which feels good. I tried my best not to do anything related to work, and to make some progress on side projects.
But beware! Rest day doesn’t mean lazy day. You can still be productive in other ways. Here are some of the things you could do as self-care:
- Do a face mask (it’s insane how refreshed you’ll feel afterwards)
- Grab a cup of tea and a good read (anything, from the latest Stephen King to a scientific article – anything that’s good food for the mind)
- Learn a new recipe (for me baking and cooking are ways to de-stress. Everyone knows how to cook – you should just give it a go and follow a Youtube video or two)
- Go on a picnic (it’s free and you’ll be surrounded by nature – enough said)
- Watch a documentary (not only relaxing, but you’ll also learn a thing or two – making the day unwasted)