Many of us think that rest is unnecessary and even try to make ourselves busier so that we don’t seem lazy. Recent studies, however, show that a person needs 5-6 hours rest a day (not including sleeping) to have the optimum position on the well-being scale.
What is rest and what do people perceive rest to be?
Rest is the act of ceasing work to relax and take a break from the non-stop grind of work to make time for ourselves. This is beneficial as it allows us to concentrate on ourselves and not on other people and in fact most of the activities people do to rest and relax are solitary activities such as reading and baking.
Interestingly, people like to be on their own so they can stop the internal monologue in their head and they see this as “shutting off”. Many people view socialising as more of a chore than a respite from the daily routine and don’t think that it is relaxing. When you are resting, however, your brain is more active as you are not concentrating on anything and this allows your brain to wander and is less fatigued, allowing you to concentrate more when you need to.
In a recent study by Hubbub, who launched the Rest Test with BBC Radio 4, it was found that 68% of participants wanted more rest.
Activities that people do to relax are individual to them; while some might enjoy resting the body and watching tv, 16% of people who took the survey said that they preferred to work out to tire the body out. It was also found that people’s perception of rest played a key role in whether they felt they had received enough rest. Those who felt that they had not had enough rest scored lower on the wellbeing scale; even if they had actually had a specific amount of rest which was seen as appropriate by a doctor.
What was really intriguing was that those who had experienced more than 6 hours rest in a day saw a dip in wellbeing. This has raised questions about doctors prescribing “rest” to a patient as it very much depends on the person’s perspective of rest and how willing they are to find time to rest in the increasingly busy world we live in, how much rest they actually have.
Many people perceive rest to be the opposite of working. Technology today means that it is even more difficult to distinguish between rest and work, with over 1.5 million people in the UK working from home, this suggests that people never really feel as if they are resting and can lead to a burnout. This feeling of utter exhaustion means that all areas of the person’s life are affected and the extreme rest needed to recover, is often difficult to find.