June 1, 2024

Winter. A Season for Radical Rest.

I’ve recently come across this term Radical Rest and the concept of taking intentional rests during your day. I love the concept so much, that I thought I would go looking for more information. And with winter here, the timing of this article is perfect. After all, winter is when many animals hibernate (including many Australian animals), surely we can take mini hibernation breaks too!

 

‘Winter is the perfect moment to let your body and brain rest. And in doing so you might find the space to rekindle your imagination and the energy needed to continue with the work you do in the world even more effectively’.

Natalie Mendham | Writer, Photographer, Designer  | nipaluna/Hobart, TAS

 

When it comes to rest, ideally we tune in with our minds and bodies and from there develop a good sense of what Radical Rest might mean for us on any given day. Is it a walk, a bath or unfurling the yoga mat? As a way to reduce stress and keep burnout at bay, we all need to be diligent about incorporating Radical Rest into our day-to-day lives. When irritability and fatigue sets in, it’s best to slow down, not power through.

 

Here’s a few ideas for developing your very own Radical Rest routines.

 

  • Take a quick micro-rest. Close your eyes for a few minutes and take some deep breaths. You are not trying to fall asleep, but rather just resting your eyes and taking a break from the visual stimuli of your surroundings.

 

  • Doodling is mind-wandering on paper. Here at Fifteen Trees, we love zentangles! Use lovely thick paper, maybe a sketchbook and a selection of pens and pencils used just for this purpose. The benefit is in creating the space for your mind to wander, daydream and let ideas, feelings and emotions surface.

 

Author’s attempt at zentangles.

 

  • Pause to notice the little things. It might be the pattern on the leaves on your desk pot plant, or noticing the way the sunlight falls across the floor, or even the feel of your favourite jumper. Perhaps it is the sound of rain or wind. Whatever it is, pause and hold onto it for a moment.

 

  • Take a break in nature. Make it a habit to take your daily morning and afternoon tea break outside. Look for colour, movement (insects, birds) and detail in the plants and buildings around you. You may even want to take up nature journaling. Here’s a recent article from the ABC about nature journaling and how it encourages people to slow down.

 

  • A siesta traditionally referred to a short midday nap taken to escape the scorching heat of the sun. However, you can take a siesta at any time of year. A siesta goes beyond mere relaxation—it also encompasses mental well-being. By allowing the mind to momentarily release itself from the demands of the day, you’ll find that you awake with more alertness, energy and creativity. Just remember to set the alarm, as you don’t want to be sleeping more than 20 minutes. Sleep for too long and you will fall into a deep sleep and maybe upset your night time sleep patterns.

 

 

You may notice that we haven’t mentioned taking your phone/ipad to the couch to rest. Scrolling is not resting! It is an activity that is demanding on your brain and your nervous system and can cause stress and anxiety. Definitely not a restful activity.

 

As Natalie mentions in her article for Pip Magazine, ‘rest can slip right down to the end of our priority list, so it is important to keep tabs on what working sustainably looks like for you’. And that could very well mean incorporating Radical Rest into our daily routine. Start this winter!

 

Resources: Radical Rest by Richard Lister, Melody Wilding and Natalie Mendham.

 

Writer: Colleen Filippa

 

With a background in Environmental Science from Melbourne University, Colleen is the Founding Director of Fifteen Trees. In 2009, after 20 years in primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions, Colleen left the classroom to start the company. Fifteen Trees is a social enterprise assisting individuals and companies to reduce their carbon footprint by supporting community groups such as Landcare, schools and environmental networks.

 

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