No matter how you find your energy--as an extrovert who builds off the energy of those around you, an introvert who prefers solitude, or somewhere in between--at some point we all need to rest. And we need it now more than ever. While being overworked, overbooked, and overstressed seems to be a badge of honor for busy entrepreneurs, this lifestyle helps no one's blood pressure.
For this very reason, wellness researchers at Hubbub partnered with BBC Radio to launch The Rest Test. They conducted an online survey to understand people's resting habits and attitudes towards relaxation and busyness. One year later, 18,000 people from 134 countries have participated. The sample size is large enough that the researchers can now glean a few insights from the results. Here's one of the most surprisingly takeaways: Being alone is beneficial to all, no matter what your personality. Of the activities people said help them feel more rested, most involved being alone.
Reading was the most popular activity, followed by being in nature. Simply "being on your own" came in third. Here's what Claudia Hammond of BBC Radio 4 wrote about the results:
Could it be that what we really want, in order to rest, is respite from other people? Seeing friends and family, chatting, or drinking socially all come much lower down the list. This doesn't mean that the respondents don't like socialising, but that they don't consider it to be particularly restful.
Regardless of whether people self-identified as introverts or extroverts, the same solitary activities bubbled to the top. Extroverts did generally place activities like socializing and chatting with friends higher than introverts did, but they still preferred less social activities above all.
"It's interesting to note that social activities, including seeing friends and family or drinking socially, placed lower in the rankings. It's also not just introverts who rate being alone as a restful activity," the researchers concluded. "Extraverts also value time spent alone, and voted this pastime as more restful than being in the company of other people"
Here are the top 10 most restful activities as selected by survey participants in The Rest Test, plus additional findings on each one.
People who said they felt they were flourishing in their level of rest were also more likely to choose reading as a restful activity.
2. Being in the natural environment
Women scored this one higher than men.
3. Being on your own
This activity was particularly popular with participants under 30.
4. Listening to music
More men preferred listening to music as a restful activity than did women.
5. Doing nothing in particular
Nine percent of survey participants said this also makes them feel guilty or stressed.
Sixteen percent of people overall found some form of exercise to be restful.
7. Having a bath or showering
Almost twice as many 18 to 30 year olds selected this activity compared to those aged over 60.
Researchers didn't have additional insight to offer on this one, but said they plan to study it more.
9. Watching TV
Across the board in all age groups, reading was far more popular than watching TV.
10. Meditating or practicing mindfulness
As these practices have entered into the mainstream, meditating and mindfulness snagged the No. 10 spot of most restful activities.