Amazingly today’s ’30 days of self-love’ topic, Rest, falls on my normal rest day. Is that kismet or what?! (The fact that I went to pilates this morning – instead of yesterday, thereby resulting in today NOT being a rest day – is obviously beside the point and ruins a good story!)
On my weight-loss program we have to exercise (cardio, weights, and stretching) six days a week. Because Wednesday is often fraught with great angst – it is weigh-in day – I usually give myself the day off exercise and indulge (but not overly) in some potatoes with dinner (ecetera); all while remaining within my calorie limit. Others on my program sometimes comment (on Twitter, Forums or Facebook) that they feel quite despondent and guilty on their rest days and yearn to get out there running, boxing, lifting and the like. But not this little black duck. I’m quite happy to have my rest days. There should be more of ’em I say. Actually I don’t say that. But I think it.
But I do realise, of course, that the topic set my Tina today isn’t solely about time spent not-exercising.
I’ve mentioned before on this blog the difficulty I face with resting. Doing nothing. Letting things go and taking a break. The need to rest can be hard to accept because we want to believe we can do it all. We want to have control and make certain that our actions achieve the results we desire. We want to feel proud for our achievements.
I know I have tried getting up early to cram more into my day. I eventually felt so exhausted all the time that I accomplished less overall. I had no energy! I have avoided taking rest days from workouts to fit in all the things I “should” to lose weight. I ended up taking a couple weeks off from an extremely achy body and lacked motivation to return. Even now, I fill my schedule and don’t get enough genuine rest from doing and going in my everyday life. I take time each day for things I enjoy, but rarely does that include a moment of nothing.
Our minds and bodies need rest. They need moments of peace regularly. It helps rejuvenate us so we can feel strong and capable of facing life. It gives us time to decompress and appreciate our lives. Rest enables us to continue growing into the people we aim to be. Without rest, we turn into empty vessels, drained of life and the energy to live it. I know those days when I find a time to relax and calm myself, I can handle so much more. I continue to learn the lesson of needing rest. I forget so easily, but always seek it out with time.
How will you rest today?
I talk endlessly about my love of baths. Anyone who follows me on Twitter (and if you’re reading this and not following me, why not… I’m obviously scintillating company!?!) knows that I need to allow myself at least 30 minutes for a bath at night after exercise and before cooking dinner. Friends with kids pine for the alone-in-bath time I have daily (or several times daily if the chance allows). But… I have a confession: I don’t just loll in the bath with a clear and mellow mind. I DO stuff while I loll in the bath. Once upon a time I drank wine or champagne and read a book. Sometimes for hours. Now I read with my water bottle propped up next to me, or a soda, lime and bitters bubbling away within arm’s reach. Occasionally I read magazines. And, since buying my iPhone I can keep up with emails, tweets and status updates, all while cocooned in warm soapy water. And sure, I know that’s decadent as well, but’s it’s not doing NOTHING.
So, while I skite that I spend all of this time doing NOTHING. I rarely do NOTHING. Like almost everyone nowadays I multi-task. I commute to and from work while checking emails, Facebook and Twitter and catching up on the blogs I follow. At work it’s not uncommon for me to have seven or eight documents going at once… the little minimised cells at the bottom of my screen, spreading across the page. I eat my lunch as I check the internet news and quickly finalise and post my blog updates. I catch up on television shows I’ve taped while I’m on the exercise bike or cooking. I eat breakfast in the bath after early morning exercise on work days. At night I constantly check Twitter and Facebook on my iPhone before going to sleep and now it is the first thing I check each morning. I was previously in a job which required me to be constantly available by email or phone and happily logged in to check my emails many MANY times on a weekend, at night or when home sick or on a day off. We expect it nowadays; to be ‘on call’. To anyone. To our family and friends. I sometimes contemplate what we did before mobile telephones. How on earth did we cope?!
Before my iPhone, when I just had a iPod Nano, I’d often forget to get it out enroute to work. I’d be sitting there staring out of the window at the world passing by, before remembering that I could have been listening to music. And sometimes even when I did remember I’d decide to leave it happily ensconsed in my bag, content to gaze mindlessly outside. I should do that more often. I should bathe more often without stimulation (okay, that sounded a bit crass, but you know what I meant – no magazines, no books) and alone with my thoughts.
I’ve often talked about my insomnia and the fact that, after going to bed, it’s not uncommon for me to lie there for hours with my mind buzzing. Sometimes I can’t help but I wonder if it’s because that’s the first time all day I am still. And first time my mind is still… and finally free to think about whatever it wants, it goes crazy and latches onto the most absurd of concerns or ideas… and won’t let go.
We rest our bodies, I wonder, other than those who practice meditation, how many of us rest our minds? And what does that mean? I like to think that sitting in front of the television mindlessly watching something is restful. But is it? I’m still getting some stimulation and I’m still having some reaction. So perhaps it isn’t. I’m not great at living in the ‘now’. So perhaps on occasions I need to unplug everything and not pick up a book or magazine, but just sit and ‘be’. OMG! What a frightening thought!