It can be hard to get the rest we need. Between work, family, friends, and all the other things we think we ‘should’ be doing, it can be difficult to carve out time to relax.

About two months ago I started working full time again and suddenly I feel like I have no free time. I am at the office, at the market buying food, cooking, washing the dishes, trying to keep up with friends and family who live on the other side of the world, washing my clothes (by hand!), and sleep. I struggle to find time to run, unless I want to get up at 5.30am every morning. I’ve started at a new yoga studio which has late classes so I (try) go straight from the office, walk for about an hour to reach the studio, and don’t get home until about 10pm.

If you’re anything like me, it helps to have some concrete ideas to put into action when the going to gets tough. I’m a big planner (love list making!) so you could try to incorporate these ideas by scheduling them in. I suggest this because if we don’t make it a habit or part of our day, it is easy to forget or give up in favour of staying another hour at the office or some other thing that seems more important.

Here’s some ways that I try to juggle my commitments with getting enough rest.

Set a limit on computer and cellphone time (aka Facebook time). I can and do spend hours perusing the internet. One thing leads me to another to another to another. And even though I’m not that particularly interested in what I’m reading or seeing, it’s a distraction and fills the time. So why not set a time each night where you do not connect after that time. Give yourself half an hour, more if you can, to disconnect and slow down the mind.

Try turning off the tv. I know, it can be blissful coming home and collapsing in a heap in front of the telly to blob and unwind. But is there a better way to spend that time? Use it to do one of the things below, perhaps?

Try yoga nidra. This is a relaxing practice where you basically just listen to someone lead you through a meditation practice, connecting you to your body.

Do yoga. Go to a class or do it at home yourself. There are lots of videos online. Sometimes I find an invigorating practice helps challenge me to refocus and recharge my batteries, but sometimes it is better to do a slower, more restful practice. If in doubt, do the restful practice. This could be as simple as some forward folds, child’s pose, and shavasana.

Read a good book. Pick something interesting and not too stressful. I love reading travel biographies. If you are like me, and don’t have easy access to good books, have a look at the Google library, try an e-reader (you can download the app to your computer or mobile device if you don’t have an actual e-reader), or even google the title of the book you’re looking for plus ‘pdf’ and you might be able to find a pdf version that you can download. Or listen  to a good book.

Cook. Many people find that the process of cooking or baking is calming and meditative. I don’t really have a kitchen (just a rice cooker and an electric frying pan) but that is enough for me to pull together various meals that aren’t totally horrible.

Giving yourself just ten minutes at each end of the day to settle in and settle down will help you feel more rested and centred.

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