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Well-Rested Every Day
365 Rituals, Recipes, and Reflections for Radical Peace and Renewal
By Jolene Hart
Formats and Prices
- Trade Paperback $19.99 $24.99 CAD
- ebook $11.99 $15.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 18, 2023. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Jolene Hart—bestselling wellness book author of the Eat Pretty series—offers moms, professionals, and overextended women of every stripe day-by-day inspiration for bringing peace, restoration, and radical change into their lives in this empowering gift book.
Well-Rested Every Day is an inspirational guide for the millions who recognize their need for rest, but lack the knowledge, ideas, or support to take action. Its pages offer 365 ideas to inspire pause, including simple tips and recipes that calm and restore the body; rituals that encourage presence, stillness, and intuition; practical applications of the most cutting-edge science on rest; and guidance on shifting habits and mindsets that block the ability to rest.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, entrepreneur, caretaker, professional, or any combination of these and other highly demanding and stressful roles, it’s easy to forget how—and why—rest matters, as long as we can maintain a constant busy pace. Well-Rested Every Day will show you why rest is an intuitive, brave, and even radical act—one that adds value and depth to our lives rather than removes opportunities. It will show you why rest and stillness make space for possibility—to become our best selves, to more deeply enjoy life, to celebrate all that is good in this moment and all that is to come in the future. Above all, this book is a timeless celebration of the power of rest and a woman’s right to claim it on any day—in any moment—she chooses. This book will engage you not just for 365 days but for years to come by building a more rest-focused lifestyle one tip, recipe, ritual, or reflection at a time.
Intention of the Week
Light, from the sun and otherwise, sends powerful messages to your brain and body that impact how well you sleep—and thus how rested you feel. One of the easiest ways to make light more supportive of your sleep is to regularly bathe in morning sunlight, which resets your circadian rhythm and helps you produce more melatonin that allows you to fall asleep faster at night. Just a little tweak to your morning routine can make a big difference in your bedtime. This week, challenge yourself to get at least ten minutes of sunshine each morning, before 10 a.m. Ideally, you’ll take your morning beverage or breakfast outside, or even fit in a little movement under the early-morning rays. Even on cloudy days, regular exposure to morning light will help you achieve deeper, more restorative rest.
WISDOM OF A CHILD
Yoga asanas, or poses, are full of wisdom and nourishment for our bodies and minds. And the universal favorite Child’s Pose, or Balasana, is a physical expression of mental and emotional peace, calm, and surrender. To practice Child’s Pose, kneel on the floor, seated with your heels beneath you and with either your knees together or separated as you feel most comfortable. Bend forward, resting your torso on or between your thighs and your forehead on the floor. You can choose to extend your arms forward alongside your head (Extended Child’s Pose), or back alongside your legs with your palms up. Let your body sink into the ground and feel completely supported as you take deep breaths with your eyes closed. This pose gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles, as well as the back (a welcome shift if you’ve been on your feet all day), and calms a racing mind. The sensation of your head and torso supported and turning inward in a fetal position brings feelings of safety, calm, and protection that are so welcome when your body craves deep physical and emotional release. Holding this type of supported pose lets your body release—not only physical tension but long-stored emotions. What feelings or memories come up for you when you take a prolonged rest in Child’s Pose?
Pause + Reflect
YOUR PERFECT PLACE OF REST
Let’s use the power of your mind to transport you to a place of rest—regardless of where you are and what you’re doing at this moment. Visualization (think of it as a fancy word for imagination) is the act of creating a mental image. When you close your eyes and visualize—especially when you lean deeply into the sensory details of your vision, like scent, touch, sound, and taste—your brain truly cannot distinguish between reality and imagination. Visualization activates neurons and strengthens pathways (in this case, pathways of calm, safety, and bliss) that actually change your default brain patterns over time. This makes visualization a secret weapon that you can use whenever you need to create the feeling of rest from within.
So let’s try it: Get comfortable right where you are, close your eyes to reduce outside stimuli, take a deep breath, and begin to envision your perfect place of rest. Where is your ideal resting place? What do you smell, hear, and touch while you are there? What do you see from the spot where you rest? How does it feel to be held in this perfect place of rest? Sink into that feeling, drawing it out as long as you can, and you’ll extend restorative benefits to your body and your mind.
Science of Rest
Remember the last time a tight waistband, constricting top, or “magically slimming” shapewear garment left you struggling for a relaxed breath? Whether by clothing or by the common habit of clenching stomach muscles (how many times have you been told to “engage your abs” during exercise?), we often block our natural ability to achieve relaxed, calming breaths that affect our body and mind. Constantly contracting abdominal muscles surprisingly works against the goal of toned abs by depriving them of rest, which weakens muscles over time. Next time you feel yourself clenching your stomach muscles for no reason, or you struggle to get a comfortable breath in too-tight clothing, remember the importance of deep, relaxed breathing for a calm body. Relax your stomach muscles as you deeply inhale, letting your lower belly expand in all directions. Allow your abdomen to gently and naturally shrink as you exhale, without reflexive clenching or tightening.
You know that good nutrition helps keep your body feeling healthy even during hectic times. But did you know that certain nutrients get depleted faster than others during times of stress? Vitamin C, B vitamins (especially B5 and B6), magnesium, iron, and zinc are among the top stress-depleted nutrients to replenish whenever you’re shouldering more than usual. Some of the top foods that provide multiple stress-depleted nutrients are wild salmon, raw nuts and seeds, leafy greens, avocados, beans, and pastured eggs. Eat more of these stress-balancing superfoods to strengthen your resilience from the inside out.
Thoughts on Rest
Your words influence your decisions, and your decisions give form to your life. This is just one reason to watch the words you choose when you speak about your life. If you’re used to reflexively answering “so busy” when someone asks you how you’ve been, reconsider those words. Busy is not a badge of honor if it’s not also bringing you happiness and fulfillment. I challenge you to find other words to describe your life—joyful, creative, motivated, even full—with the knowledge that speaking differently helps tremendously to break old patterns. And one day when you’re asked how you’ve been, you may very well answer “well-rested.”
BRUSH, FLOSS—AND GARGLE?
Perhaps the body’s most important pathway to calm is the vagus nerve, our longest nerve, which has multiple branches that travel from the brain down the neck, torso, and through the intestines, linking directly to the heart along the way. Vagus nerve stimulation releases acetylcholine to contract smooth muscles and subsequently calm the nervous system and slow the heart rate after a stress reaction. Stimulating the vagus nerve (there are dozens of ways to do so) is one path to activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system.
One surprising—and slightly goofy—way to stimulate your vagus nerve is by gargling, which triggers your parasympathetic nervous system through its vibrating effect on your vocal cords. While I wouldn’t expect you to gargle sips of water in the middle of the workday to counteract stress, you can add this simple practice in the morning and evening when you’re brushing your teeth to have beneficial effects on your vagal tone (which supports emotional regulation and overall health) over time. Practice gargling water or even mouthwash after you brush your teeth, aiming to sustain the practice for at least thirty seconds. It may be trickier than you think! And if you’re up to the challenge and don’t mind feeling a bit silly, go ahead and be loud; you’ll achieve greater stimulation and vibration.
Intention of the Week
THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE
An email pops up from your boss and your jaw immediately tenses. You hear your child bellow “Mommy, I need…!” from the next room and you sigh. One more thing gets added to your to-do list, and you silently grumble to yourself. When your body is depleted, even a small stressor feels like a crushing load. But a hard truth is that the energy we use putting up resistance with our bodies and minds depletes us even further, while reinforcing patterns and reflexive responses that we likely don’t wish to habituate. This week, practice greeting new demands or stressors with acceptance—even joy or gratitude (faking it can help change this reflex too). Release resistance and control and let life flow, knowing that there will always be demands and stressors in life. While you’re at it, notice which obligations cause the greatest resistance, and consider asking for more support for, or even delegating, some of these obligations. Above all, notice how resisting less with your body and mind changes your energy and helps you flow through even the most chaotic of days with lightness.
When it’s prepared with intention and ceremony, a cup of tea is so much more than just hydration. The ritual of tea is a centuries-old practice that reminds us to slow down and to savor a beautiful sensory experience. One of the most practical ways to bring the often-elaborate ritual of the tea ceremony into modern life is to single-task your own tea-making process. Tune out the rest of the world and focus on the smells, the sounds, and the sensations as you prepare your cup or pot. Rather than tossing a tea bag in a cup, opt for loose-leaf teas so you can see and feel the texture of the components, use their scents to guide you to what will be most restorative to your body today, and connect to the origin of your tea ingredients. Watch the tea leaves swirl, the tea change color as it steeps, and the steam rise in spirals from your cup. Savor each sip the way you would a sip of wine or a bite of chocolate as you visualize its healing rest for your body and mind.
Pause + Reflect
FIT THE PIECES
Building a lifestyle of rest can mean rethinking your routine from the ground up, adjusting what you expect of yourself each day and taking a hard look at why things are as they are. To begin, write out your daily routine step-by-step, from wake to sleep. Then go back through your list, pausing at each piece of your routine to ask “why?” Is this necessary, is this beneficial, is this a fit for the life I want? If certain pieces cause hesitation, or bring up feelings of stress, overwhelm, or resentment, you know you’ve found the key areas to change. You might even find that you outgrew parts of your routine long ago but haven’t made necessary changes to reflect your growth or new priorities. Pinpointing the pieces of your life that no longer fit you can be a powerful first step to the well-rested life you want.
Science of Rest
DARK CHOCOLATE AND CORTISOL
Chocolate: It’s not your imagination that a melt-in-your-mouth square just seems to hit the spot on a stressful day. Studies show that dark chocolate in particular lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, with the effect lasting for several hours after eating. Flavonoids in dark chocolate (look for at least 70 percent cocoa or higher) are anti-inflammatory, benefit memory and focus, and cause the body to release feel-good endorphins. Dark chocolate is also known to trigger dopamine, a neurotransmitter that signals “reward” to our brains. We often crave more of whatever gives us a dopamine surge, which explains chocolate’s reputation as an addictive, crave-worthy food—one with considerable benefits.
KNOW YOUR NERVINES
A nervine is a type of herb that acts on your body’s nervous and limbic systems to reduce your stress response and return it to a calm, parasympathetic state. Nervines are known to act gently, and their effects are often cumulative as they help your body reestablish a healthy nervous system response and return to a place of balance. Some of the most famous nervines—think chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm—make beautiful essential oils to inhale or herbal teas to drink whenever you wish to support a restful state in your body. Other nervines like passionflower, skullcap, milky oats, and valerian are often used as tinctures (concentrated herbal extracts in liquid form) and tonics for gentle sleep or anxiety support. If you’re looking to balance your stress response and haven’t tried this class of gentle yet powerful herbs, start here.
Thoughts on Rest
Friendly, approachable, accessible—these are positive personality traits that we’d never want to change. Or would we? When you’re intentionally building rest into your life, taking steps to make yourself a little less accessible can be a healthy intervention. No need to fully cut off relationships; simply put up more out-of-office messages, close your office door when you don’t want to be disturbed, take a social media break, block out time on your calendar for your rest essentials rather than leaving the time open to nonessential activities, or let others know that you are unavailable at certain times. Creating even minimal boundaries protects your energy and ensures that you have the time to take care of your essential needs. You might cycle through times of greater and lesser accessibility, and that’s okay too—you will find a rhythm as rest becomes more intuitive.
The easiest step to supporting good digestion is one that most of us forget—most likely because it involves rest. Before you take your first bite of a meal, pause to switch your body into its parasympathetic, rest-and-digest mode. You can do this by taking a few deep breaths (draw out your exhale longer than your inhale to trigger calm); by rooting yourself in the present with a pause, a moment of gratitude, or a prayer; and by activating your senses (what do you see, smell, and crave in the food in front of you?). I call this the parasympathetic pause, and it can transform your digestion and nutrient assimilation, making each meal even more supportive of your energy and overall health. The cephalic phase of digestion (the name for those pre first–bite moments when you’re getting excited to taste your delicious meal) is when your body produces 20 percent of the stomach acid and 30 percent of the pancreatic enzymes needed for optimal digestion. Without a switch over to your parasympathetic state, you miss this phase entirely. And as you practice this easy ritual, you remind yourself to fully enjoy your mealtime experience.
Intention of the Week
SORRY NOT SORRY
Be unapologetic about your needs. We certainly weren’t born apologizing for needing a nap, a snack, some fresh air, or snuggle time with a loved one. But somewhere along the way most of us adapted to feeling apologetic or even guilty for having needs. One fundamental way to maintain the well-rested version of you is to get better at identifying and meeting those needs. Knowing what you need to stay healthy, happy, and well-rested means that you are well connected with yourself—something to cheer, not something to apologize for!
This week (and beyond), set the intention to meet your needs without apology. Communicating those needs clearly and firmly actually teaches others to do the same and removes any shame around prioritizing mental and physical health. Watch your emails, texts, and spoken words for unnecessary apologies that you might be making for meeting your own basic needs—and feel proud of yourself for speaking up for your body and mind.
WELL-RESTED IN FIVE MINUTES
Find a sunny spot, indoors or outdoors. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and notice the speed of your heartbeat and breathing. Practice inhaling though your nose and then out through your mouth, extending the length of your exhales. Remain here in a state of partial sensory deprivation and reconnect to your body. After several minutes, open your eyes, look around, and feel the slowed pace of your autonomic nervous system.
Pause + Reflect
What instantly adds just a little more happiness to your day? Think: a delicious smoothie, a conversation with a friend, sitting in the sun, time to cook a meal from scratch. I call these energy-changing habits instant shifts because they quickly transform your mood and mental state. When practiced routinely, these instant shifts make incredible changes in your well-being and your life satisfaction. Grab your journal or create a new note on your phone and list the happiness-boosting instant shifts that add the most joy to your life. Keep this list in a place where you’ll see it (bedside, phone background, your workspace) and regularly incorporate a few of these life-giving instant shifts into each day.
Science of Rest
PROOF IN YOUR GENES
Taking time out to recharge might feel nice, but what’s the harm in skimping on self-care if it means that you can accomplish more? Turns out that your genes tell the whole truth when it comes to stress and biological aging. Telomeres, the end caps on your chromosomes, shorten and lengthen in response to aging (or wear and tear caused by the stress of a pro-aging lifestyle). Longer telomeres indicate less stress on the body and greater longevity, while shorter telomeres correspond to advanced age and diseases like cancer and heart disease. The great news is that telomeres can be repaired—and lengthened—by recharging your body and mind.
Several studies show a boost in telomerase (the enzyme that lengthens telomeres) resulting from mind-body practices like meditation, qigong, tai chi, and yoga. Other research suggests that combining yoga and meditation with a healthy diet and supportive relationships helps raise telomerase activity up to 30 percent in three months. It’s likely that other positively recharging practices that bring you joy—think art therapy, socializing with friends, journaling—could do the same. So while you can keep hustling without rest, slowing down can grant you more—and healthier—years to check off everything on your bucket list.
- On Sale
- Apr 18, 2023
- Page Count
- 384 pages
- Running Press