5 ways to reclaim the rest you need

A psychologist friend of mine recently shared that every time we hear our phones ding–or our neighbor’s phone vibrate–our cortisol levels rise and our heart rate increases. In the 24/7, wired world we now occupy, most of us are living in a perpetual fight or flight state (we see a triggering text and our body has the same reaction it SHOULD have when we see a bear!).

As a life balance teacher, I believe one of the essential strategies for mitigating speeded-up living is to REST.  Rest restores our energy levels, helps us integrate and re-calibrate, boosts productivity and problem-solving, and helps us create sustainability in a world that never slows down.

self care

“If we feel tired, we think something is wrong. Nothing is wrong. We are just tired. We need rest. Sometimes a lot of it, if we’ve gone for years vetoing our body’s signals.” – Dr. Claudia Welch

Now in my fifties, I’ve been reflecting a lot on aging and how I can cultivate energy reserves that allow me to continue to travel, have outdoor adventures and do all the exciting things I plan to do with my family and friends over the next 40 years. I’m convinced that making rest a priority is key to maintaining a high energy level and to basic self-care.

Here are 5 ways to reclaim rest in your life:

1. Change your perspective on rest. You’re a human being–not a human doing, and definitely not a robot. Downtime is essential–it’s not just for toddlers or old folks, it should be a part of our daily routine, just like brushing our teeth.

2. Rest whenever, wherever you can. My husband will sometimes head to his car at lunch for a 20 minute cat-nap! He says he returns to his software job with renewed focus.

3. Give yourself permission to get as much rest as you truly need. And if you’re in the midst of a major life transition or are recovering from a health crisis, don’t be surprised if this ends up looking like weeks instead of days. (After extensive planning and juggling, I’m preparing to take a month off in July for deep “to the marrow” renewal; I’m clear a week just wouldn’t cut it.)

4. Dedicate Saturday or Sunday specifically to rest. And guard this precious time–schedule it, if needed. Read What are Weekends For?

5. Do less to experience more (read more). Research has shown we’re happier when things are simpler and we have less choices. We all crave expanses of unscheduled time. Challenge habitual behavior that keeps you constantly on the go.

My writer friend says she recommends “Doing nothing ….and then resting.” And a wise mentor–who is a huge advocate of building downtime in your schedule–recently joked with me that her business card should say “master rester.”

I was resistant to resting for years, but am now fully on board. I try and rest every afternoon for 20-30 minutes; I feel like a new person after taking this much needed afternoon break and my body now craves this self-renewal respite. C’mon people, join me. Rest=good self-care.



  • Renew and recharge with like-minded women in NC. Join me Sat., June 8th from 1-6 in Brevard, NC (near Asheville) at the beautiful Brevard Yoga Center for our New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Mini Retreat; almost sold out! Learn more . View all retreats here. 
  • Schedule me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on life balance, resiliency or self-renewal in 2019-2020. I’ve been speaking professionally for 25+ years on work-life balance and managing your energy.  My clients include Fortune 500 companies, national conferences, nonprofits and organizations. Learn more and email me at workshops at reneetrudeau dot com with questions.
  • Find your tribe this summer! Learn more about our global sisterhood of RTA-Certified Facilitators  and empower/support women in your community while leading self-care groups/retreats! More here on becoming a RTA-Certified Facilitator and joining our inner circle (plus, $100 off training through 5/31 which includes private coaching with me).

Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 17-year-old son. More on her background here.

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