We all need it and we certainly all crave it, yet what exactly constitutes rest tends to vary between individuals – with the exception of one constant factor.
There’s a reason we look forward to the end of the working day, the weekend and the holidays. These times promise us a reprieve from the most stressful and busy parts of our lives, whilst also affording us the time to rest and recharge.
However, choosing a restful activity isn’t a one size fits all task – it varies between individuals and their differing personalities, aside from one common denominator that has been uncovered in a recent study.
So, The common denominator? Solitude.
The discovery marking solitude as an essential ingredient in defining a restful activity isn’t the most surprising discovery to date; yet it is an important one given our exemplified need for rest in an increasingly stressful and work-driven world.
The discovery was made after wellness company Hubbub teamed up with BBC radio presenter, Claudia Hammond, as well as collaborators from 12 different disciplines to create “The Rest Test”. The Rest Test study was the largest of its kind so far, with participants from 134 nations responding to a survey that asked them to select the three (out of twenty five options) activities they found to be most restful. Whilst results of specific activities varied, more than half of respondents selected lone activities as the most restful.
…Spending time alone landed in the top results reinforcing the study’s conclusion that ‘solitude is bliss’.
The leading activities to be identified as most restful included reading; being in the natural environment; and spending time alone. The fact that spending time alone, an activity that can encompass anything and everything, landed in the top results reinforces the study’s conclusion that, to paraphrase ‘solitude is bliss’.
Other activities identified as especially or particularly restful by participants were: listening to music, doing nothing in particular, walking, having a bath or shower, daydreaming, watching television, meditating or practicing mindfulness, being with animals, seeing friends or family, drinking tea or coffee, creative arts and gardening. Whilst the majority of these activities can be enjoyed with other people it’s worth noting that many are activities we generally choose to do alone. After all, an activity that we classify as a happy one – such as spending time with friends and family – doesn’t always constitute a restful one.
An activity that we classify as a happy one – such as spending time with friends and family – doesn’t also constitute a restful one.
If you’re an extrovert you may feel conflicted by the results of the study, given extroverts general aversion to alone time. However, the study also took participants’ personalities into account and found that just like introverts, extroverts found lone activities beneficial to feeling well rested.
As previously alluded, the importance of identifying which activities are restful for us as individuals is real, particularly when considering that the study also found a correlation between general wellbeing and feelings of restfulness. According to the study, people who don’t feel in need of more rest have wellbeing scores twice as high as those who feel that they do need more rest.
With this newfound knowledge in mind, next time you’re in need of a reprieve from life’s draining daily stresses – consider a lone activity and reap the many benefits.