How To Stop Feeling Guilty For Rest & Self-Care

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woman learning how to stop feeling guilty for self care
Self

You can learn how to rest without feeling guilty. What is it about feeling guilty for resting, anyway?

I hear it all the time. Everyone is so busy. You can't slow down, and when you do, for some reason you feel guilty.

Learn how to rest and feel good about it, so you can actually get the self-care and gentle relaxation your body and mind are craving.

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Not only is it important to rest, but it's important to engage in restful activities. Sure, you may have the eight hours of sleep down.

What types of restful activities are you engaging in? You will know if they're restful by how you feel.

Meaning, are you feeling stressed out most of the time, or do you feel rested? Do you rely on caffeine and sugar to get through the day?

If you answered yes, then it's time to make some changes. Your mind and body will thank you. Your friends and family will also thank you.

When you're stressed out, you’re more irritable. You’re also more prone to disease.

Stress is the number-one killer in America. You don't have to end up being a statistic.

The good news is you can learn how to rest and feel good about it, and learn how to stop feeling guilty. 

Here are 7 ways you can learn how to stop feeling guilty for practicing self-care and getting rest.

1. Have a moment of mindfulness.

This is about staying in the present. Being aware of your thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surroundings moment by moment.

This also means taking time out of your day for yourself to meditate. I recommend starting with 10 minutes. You can meditate in silence or do a body scan.

This doesn't mean that you’re doing nothing. You’re doing something for you mind by giving it rest.

2. Read a good book.

Studies have found that reading is one of the most restful activities. If you have a hard time getting motivated to read, join a book club to help keep you on track.

You can read anything. Just make time for it.

If you’re in a relationship, read a book with your partner. This will give you a lot to talk about.

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3. Listen to music.

This is one of my favorite restful activities. In the middle of the day, I will stop and listen to some of my favorite songs. Sometimes, I sing along.

This is especially helpful when I am feeling overwhelmed and as though I can't make it through the rest of the day. You can also listen to music in the morning or when you get home.

Instead of listening to the news in your car, turn on a song. You will feel better and more rested.

4. Spend time in nature.

Spend time connecting with the outdoors. Go for a hike on a nearby trail, spend time at the ocean, or go for a walk in the park.

If you can't do those things, spend time in your backyard. If you don't have one, buy a plant for your house.

Connecting with nature is important for your mind. You need the sunshine and fresh air, as well.

Touch the sand or the trees. Don't worry, you won't get dirty. This will help you connect with nature.

5. Do nothing and spend time being alone.

When was the last time you looked at your calendar and had nothing scheduled? This fast-paced world can be demanding.

You may feel guilty if you aren't doing something. If you believe that, your mind is telling you a lie.

You’re not a machine, and you’re not meant to go all the time. Go easy on yourself and put the breaks on. By doing this, you’re conditioning your brain to rest.

6. Spend time daydreaming.

This doesn't mean spending time stuck in your head with negative thoughts. This means spend time dreaming.

Remember when you were a child and spent a lot of time daydreaming? You didn't have a list of reasons as to why you couldn't dream or do something. Let your mind wander like a child.

Even if the dream may seem too high to reach, still spend time dreaming about it. Come up with all the reasons why you can do it, rather than why you can't.

See what you come up with. The results may amaze you.

7. Light a candle.

Even if you’re doing something, you can still light a candle. This will help create a relaxing environment. You will feel your mind and body relax.

Sometimes, when I'm writing in my journal, I light a candle. This always helps me relax.

This is also a time where I turn of my cell phone. This is a great way to unplug.

You might be thinking this isn't possible. If that is the case, then take a look at your mindset.

When did rest stop being a priority in your life? Are you letting others define how you spend your time? Meaning, your partner, co-workers, or supervisor?

Remember, this is your life and you have a say in it, so make sure you learn how to stop feeling guilty for taking some time for yourself. Making time for rest and self-care needs to be a priority in your life.

If you don't start to make rest a priority in your life, it will lead to burnout. Start with one of these activities today.

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Lianne Avila is a licensed marriage and family therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many people create a work-life balance for themselves. For more information, please visit Lessons for Love.

This article was originally published at Lessons for Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.