Today’s book is The Power of Rest: Why Sleep Alone Is Not Enough. A 30-Day Plan to Reset Your Body, written by Matthew Edlund, M.D. This book was published in 2010 and I couldn’t be more excited to talk about how its helped me learn how to rest and feel better:
That’s sounds kind of weird, right? Why would I need to learn how to rest? The answer is simple and is because I never learned how. I grew up in the generation of always being busy, always working, never resting until I had completely exhausted myself.
I’m not sure if this was a generational thing, or specific to my personal experience, but what it meant for me was arriving in my mid-30s with a lifetime’s worth of health problems resulting from stress and generally not knowing how to care for myself. My health problems included autoimmune disease, thyroid cancer, chronic migraines, and anxiety, and it’s taken a good 5-7 years of work, plus an overhaul of my lifestyle and mindset, to get these issues under control (you can read more about my story here).
That’s where this book comes in. Dr. Edlund is both a scientist and clinician, and his advice is practical and kind. He definitely covers the importance of sleep, but then delves much deeper into this concept of rest, dividing it into physical, mental, social, and spiritual sub-topics. Here are some examples of each:
- active physical rest: taking time to focus on breathing OR stretching OR taking a hot bath
- mental rest: using visualization to step outside of a stressful situation and find a place mentally that feels safe and relaxed
- social rest: going for a walk with a friend in a park and feeling the warmth of the sun and noticing the changing seasons, all the while enjoying the company of another person OR taking 3-5 minutes to chat with a neighbor at the mailbox or a co-working in the break room
- spiritual rest: taking one minute to contemplate nature and the wondrousness of life
Explained in those terms that incorporate our evolutionary biology, rest seems so much richer and nourishing than what I ever would have considered. The last section of the book is even more practical, with a discussion about the dangers of multi-tasking too much, and how to find flow to accomplish goals in life that take a lot of focus. I also adore Dr. Edlund’s recommendations to incorporate music into daily activities, including walking rhythmically or finding a theme song or melody for the day.
Another specific recommendation that Dr. Edlund makes in the “sleep makeover” section is using a worry journal to worry less. This suggestion has been surprisingly helpful in reducing the anxiety that I often get in the middle of the night. If you want me to write more about this specifically, please let me know in the comments.
In conclusion, this book is necessary reading for anyone wanting to find more enjoyment, presence, and peace in our crazy modern world. Dr. Edlund shows how to make progress in 30 days. And, honestly, with the busy season of the holidays coming up, there’s no better time for all of us to learn how to slow down and find joy in each and every day!
Feel free to let me know your thoughts about this book or what I wrote in the comments section of this post. And, if you’re a blogger and have a review to share, please use this link to share (you can see all my reviews from our previous book club meetings here):
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