Rest, is the last thing I thought I would write about, this week. Lately, I have been filling my schedule with appointments, open mic nights, and setting up dates with friends and family. Last weekend, for the first time, I didn’t have plans Saturday and Sunday. I did work Saturday, so I could have Friday off to celebrate Thanksgiving a day later, with my family, who was in town. I came home from work, surprisingly full of energy and in high spirits. I sat down, at the kitchen table, looked around, and realized I had nothing to do. This was not a common occurrence for me. At first, my brain panicked. I thought to myself, “It is the weekend, I ought to do something!” But when I began to list things that I could do, one by one, I declined them all. I moved to the couch to pet my (adorable and cuddly) cat, Daisy, and just sat there in silence.
So much of my life, I made plans to stay busy; and did things that I thought I needed, in order to be happy. I plan my to-do list, things like going to get groceries or going to the gym (something to be accomplished). I plan creative activities to keep my imagination active (writing, playing music, games, etc.). I plan time for reading, so I am always learning; and I plan time for my relationships (friends, family, partner, etc.). Are these things bad or wrong? No; of course not. However, I do not need all of these things or activities to feel happy. This was a huge revelation for me. I was at home, doing nothing, and I felt great! I had tons of energy, and naturally thought that because of this excess energy, I should make plans with a loved one or should get something done. For the first time, I had a weekend where I did stuff, but there was nothing I had to do. I just sat still and felt my own body’s reaction to each thing and gauged by that reaction what I wanted. It felt good. It was peaceful. It was stress-free. I did not have ridiculous expectations of things to get done or people to see. I allowed myself to just be.
Winter, as much as some of us dread this season, is the perfect time for rest. The days get shorter and so naturally our bodies feel tired, earlier than usual. Winter, is a time to rest and a time to reflect. Haven’t you noticed how everything seems to slow down during the winter? The rain turns to snow and suddenly the pace at which it falls slows, softens, and becomes almost magical. The traffic, though sometimes frustrating, becomes slower and people are more careful with their driving (hopefully). People often choose to stay in with their families rather than go out. I’m not saying to completely stop your life or stay in and watch Netflix every night, but winter is a nice excuse to give yourselves a break. Allow yourself rest and rejuvenation. Our bodies and our minds need to time to heal, time to renew.
People seem to associate productivity with success. It is the common belief that if we are busy and constantly doing something, then we will accomplish more. While it is good to have goals, this is not necessarily true. People even sacrifice their sleep because they pass it off as a waste of time or believe it will interfere with their productivity. Meanwhile, others are skipping meals and think that as long as they eat one meal or replace it with energy drinks, they will get more accomplished. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. If we are not letting our bodies and minds rest, we are not functioning at full capacity; therefore, we are actually getting less done in a longer amount of time. I know when I get sleep and proper nutrition, I feel fresh and alert. Thoughts and ideas come to me faster, my body feels full of energy and less sore, and even my attitude is improved and ready to take on more.
Typically, my challenges for you to apply to your lives and “take home” often involve taking action. In this case, it is quite the opposite. I challenge (a.k.a. encourage) you to find time each and every day for rest. I am not talking about sleep, though I would hope you are getting your eight or nine hours of sleep every night. I am referring to time where you are doing nothing but sitting and relaxing. This also does not include your TV, phone, radio, or any other electronic device that this world has invented. This is you, being silent, allowing your body and mind to be at peace for at least 30 minutes every day. Are you up for the challenge? Let me know how it goes! Tell me what has changed, once you incorporated this new habit into your schedule? It seems like a silly thing, but I would not be surprised to hear back from several of you, that this activity of doing nothing, became the most favorite part of your day! Whether you are a mother or father or single or married, this is YOUR time. This holiday season, give yourself the gift of REST:
Take It One Day At A Time