Last week I royally screwed up at work. I missed a very important detail, that could have been extremely costly. Luckily, a co-worker caught my mistake before it left our office. I beat myself up about it. And I got a talking to by my boss. I’m a detail person. I PRIDE myself in details! However, I’ve been running in all cylinders for weeks, and I didn’t take the time to rest, got sick, still tried to function at my normal speed, and screwed up big time.
Whether you’re a yogi that observes savasna at the end of your practice, if its a Friday and your counting the minutes until the weekend starts, or if you’re from Europe where everything shuts down for lunch and a siesta—you know that rest is a good thing. Rest is something we should accomplish daily, but is the one thing that we push aside in our lives most. We don’t really pay attention to rest until we really need it—which is a travesty.
Currently, I’m typing this, cozied up on my sofa, Netflix streaming in the background, tissues to my right, hot tea to my left. I waited too long to rest and my body decided to shut down and make me rest. On average, I work a 50-hour week, with all of my jobs and rehearsals or performances; I’ve got a lot going on. I carry a lot of responsibility on these tall shoulders. I feel, sometimes that if I slow down to take care of myself, that everything will fall apart and I’ll have such a large mess to clean up. So, it’s best to keep chugging along. However, that isn’t the case. More often than not, “things” will keep going. I, however, will not.
It’s a funny thing, because about a week before I get sick, I get a feeling I should slow down. A very strong sense comes over me—sometimes I take heed, this time I ignored it. Instead of making sure I went to bed early, or making sure that I didn’t take on extra things, or just letting my mind go and actually resting, I scheduled extra things, and did the opposite of everything my body told me to do. Instead of taking it easy, I doubled my activities. Oof.
You can do so much more harm to yourself when you don’t rest. I’m not talking about sleep—which is also needed, but lack of rest is an epidemic in the world. People gain weight, and create more stress in their lives with the lack of rest. True you won’t get as much done immediately, but in the long run, you will save time.
Think of it this way—because I didn’t rest, and fell sick, I then had to take double the amount of time to get healthy again, that I would have if I just rested.
Mastin Kipp—founder of The Daily Love, and seemingly a man I should be friends with, because we have such similar views and insight on life—wrote an article a few weeks ago about making yourself the most important person in your life. And you can do this by simply saying “No”. When I read this article, this knowledge was refreshed in my mind. I know that I should take better care of myself. I should say “no” more often. But I don’t want to let anyone down, because I have the reputation of being dependable and resourceful. In his article about self care he talks about this same feeling, and how he put himself in the hospital because he couldn’t say no. He also goes on to say, a “no” to someone or something else is a “yes” to you.
When I read that, I had to take a deep breath. It hit my heart so deeply. (I also have to confess it took me three different tries to read this article all the way through—because instead of taking a moment for myself to read it, I did work, or helped someone else.) Ugggh! I thought to myself—I hate that he is right! I have to learn to say “yes” to myself, my health, and my resting time more regularly.
This is going to be a hard process (Mastin agrees). But I have to commit to myself, to take better care of myself by saying, no. I wrote an article a while ago about being sorry–which I say that you shouldn’t apologize, but instead think before you act, or reform your behavior, because it is too easy to commit the “crime” and then just ask forgiveness. Taking care of yourself, and saying no, and RESTING follow a similar thought… you can’t just continue to go at full throttle, and hope that your body will forgive you. Mine never does. She gets pissed off at me and shuts down. Life seems to be three times harder when I’m not well, because I’m going at half speed, or less. It is truly agony to be sick, not just because I’m not healthy.
The silly thing is there are simple ways to rest, or shut down, if we would only take them. I have started with the few simple habits to get me started:
1) Obviously, I am to try to get 8ish hours of sleep a night. I make sure to think about when I need to get up and make myself aim for bed 9ish hours before, so that way when I finally get to bed, I get enough sleep.
2) I put my electronics to sleep. I put my cell phone on “do not disturb” mode. I turn off my computer in the hour before I go to bed. There have been studies that say that electronics over stimulate, so by shutting them down, you allow your brain to slow down.
3) I follow Mastin’s advice and say “no.” I need to not commit myself to everything simply because it is the right thing to do.
4) I make sure I observe rest time for myself. I take moments on weekends, or moments of the day when I’m not working, and actually focus on myself. Like today: I decided to stay home and rest and clean. And a friend asked me to go to dinner… I committed to myself first, so I’m going to honor that. Its just as important as honoring a friend.
5) I will remember to breathe. Deep breaths are cleansing and relieving. They relax and open everything up.
These are the beginnings. I’d love to hear what you do to relax. Share below or email us!! Remember, it is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone.
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