rest and reading

The Importance of Rest

As the summer season beckons, it promises relaxation and leisure. Summer has long been associated with a time to unwind, bask in the sun’s warmth, and revel in the beauty of nature. During this season, we are reminded of the significance of rest and its profound impact on our overall well-being. Whether it’s the vacation retreats, lazy afternoons by the beach, or quiet evenings spent in the company of a good book, summer is a poignant reminder of the value of taking a break from the daily grind.

The art of doing nothing is often undervalued in a society emphasizing productivity and achievement. However, taking time and not constantly being in “doing” mode is essential for our well-being. Embracing moments of stillness and serenity allows our minds to wander, fostering creativity and introspection. In these moments of idleness, we often gain insights and make connections that would have eluded us during periods of constant activity.

In its various forms, rest is an essential component of a healthy and balanced life. It is not just a luxury reserved for vacations; it is a necessity for maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. In a society that glorifies productivity and constant busyness, it is crucial to understand the importance of incorporating rest into our daily routines.

The Benefits of Rest

Rest is a multi-faceted concept beyond simply lying down and closing our eyes. In an article, Rest, published on The National Library of Medicine defines rest as an activity similar to comfort which “comprises the aspects of ease, relief, and transcendence, a condition when humans are lifted from problems and pain.” Rest encompasses any activity or behavior that allows us to recharge and rejuvenate our mind and body. Rest can be active, such as engaging in outdoor activities like hiking or gardening, or passive, like taking a few minutes to meditate or engage in deep breathing exercises.

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, Author of Sacred Rest, shares with the Freedom At The Mat community the 7 Types of Rest we should grant ourselves here.

One of the significant benefits of incorporating rest into our lives is its positive impact on stress reduction. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on our health, leading to many physical and mental health issues. Incorporating rest into our lives holds profound benefits, particularly its positive impact on stress reduction. Chronic stress, the prolonged state of heightened tension and pressure, can wreak havoc on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When left unchecked, it acts as a silent but potent force that undermines our health in numerous ways.

Physiologically, chronic stress triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare our bodies for the “fight or flight” response. While this response is essential for survival in short-term, life-threatening situations, chronic activation of the stress response can harm our bodies. Elevated cortisol levels can disrupt crucial bodily functions, such as digestion, metabolism, and immune function. Over time, this can weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections and illnesses.

Moreover, chronic stress can manifest in various physical symptoms, such as headaches, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal issues. It can also contribute to developing chronic conditions like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. The impact on the cardiovascular system is particularly significant, as persistent stress can lead to increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and inflammation within the arteries, all of which elevate the risk of heart-related ailments.

Beyond the physical toll, chronic stress heavily affects our mental and emotional health. Prolonged stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and burnout. It can impair cognitive function, affecting memory, concentration, and decision-making abilities. Additionally, chronic stress can strain relationships, leading to irritability, mood swings, and a reduced capacity for empathy and communication.

By taking time to rest and relax, we can lower stress levels, improve our mood, and enhance our ability to cope with life’s challenges.

Reading, the Perfect Complement to Rest


As we explore the significance of rest, it is necessary to recognize the role of reading in this equation. Reading is a blissful retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life, where the mind transcends reality and surrenders to the captivating realm of imagination. With each word, the day’s stresses and worries seem to dissipate, replaced by a gentle calmness that envelopes the soul. The act of reading is a peaceful journey of introspection, a delicate dance between the reader and the writer’s words. As the pages turn, time becomes irrelevant, and there is only the delightful surrender to the literary world. The soft rustling of the pages is like a soothing melody, guiding the reader deeper into a state of relaxation. Wrapped in a cocoon of tranquility, the heart beats in harmony with the story’s rhythm. Reading is an enchanting symphony of the mind, an oasis of serenity, where one can find solace, inspiration, and a renewed sense of wonder in the art of storytelling. Reading is a gateway to a world of knowledge, imagination, and empathy. It is an activity that encourages us to pause from our own lives.

Reading and rest go hand in hand, complementing each other in ways that can elevate the benefits of both. A peaceful afternoon spent with a captivating book can be a form of rest that rejuvenates the mind and soul. Conversely, incorporating rest into our daily lives can create the space and time necessary to indulge in reading.

Reading is one of the most effective ways to keep our minds sharp and active. This relaxing activity engages our brains, boosting cognitive functions such as comprehension, critical thinking, and vocabulary expansion. Studies have shown that regular reading can stave off cognitive decline and reduce the risk of developing conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Immersing oneself in a good book can be an excellent way to escape the stresses of daily life. Reading can transport us to different worlds, allowing us to forget our worries and troubles momentarily. It provides a form of relaxation distinct from other forms of entertainment, as it requires active engagement of the mind and imagination.

The Interplay of Relaxing, Reading, and Yoga


Just as immersing oneself in a good book offers a gateway to escape daily life’s stresses, yoga presents a unique avenue for relaxation and rejuvenation. While reading transports us to different worlds and momentarily frees us from worries, yoga carries us on an inward journey, encouraging us to be fully present and mindful in the here and now. Both practices demand active engagement; however, while reading engages the mind through imagination, yoga combines physical postures, breathwork, and meditation to unite the body, mind, and soul. Through mindful movement and focused breath, yoga provides a profound sense of inner peace and tranquility that complements the mental relaxation found within the pages of a captivating book. Together, reading and yoga become powerful allies in our pursuit of a balanced and serene existence, each offering unique therapeutic benefits to nourish the soul and foster overall well-being.

We offer freely accessible meditation, yoga, and affirmations through our YouTube channel, Freedom At The Mat. Our unwavering mission is to ensure these valuable resources are available to everyone, irrespective of their circumstances. Suppose you know anyone seeking a way to rest or needing mental health support. In that case, we wholeheartedly encourage you to guide them to Freedom At The Mat. This is where anyone is welcome to discover the support and solace they seek.


In conclusion, the significance of rest during the summer cannot be overstated, especially when we acknowledge its profound connection to reading. As the summer season invites us to slow down and savor the leisurely moments, it presents an opportune time to indulge in the joys of reading. Reading and yoga provide an enriching escape from the hectic pace of life. Reading allows us to unwind and immerse ourselves in captivating narratives or enriching knowledge. While reading offers an escape from the chaos of our lives, yoga provides a pathway to introspection, leading us to discover inner peace within the sanctuary of our bodies. Embracing the art of rest through engaging books and moments for quiet meditation enables us to recharge our minds, bodies, and souls. By prioritizing rest during the summer, we gift ourselves the invaluable chance to explore new worlds, while nurturing our well-being and fostering a deeper connection to the season’s beauty. So, let us heed the call of rest and revel in the pleasures of reading as we make the most of this summer’s potential for relaxation and rejuvenation.