My Grandmother, with great insight and care, used to say to me, “Bill, you go at everything like you’re trying to kill a snake!” She was right.
And you know what? Bless her departed soul, she still is. Inherent and learned, that characteristic consumes buckets of emotional, mental, and physical energy. Rest, then, becomes essential to survival.
I can’t imagine too many of us get sufficient rest. Oh you may say, “But Bill, I rest all the time!” Well, that may be the case. However, I’d suggest physical stillness doesn’t equate to emotional, mental, and spiritual calm. And a racing mind and soul can be stealthily exhausting.
Well, hey – let’s chat about this rest biz, and see what we can do to grab some. Okay?
First a cool quotation from Ernest Hemingway…
“I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.”
The Whats & Whys
Let’s get to work by taking a look at a few of the definitions of rest offered by merriam-webster.com…
A bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities…freedom from activity or labor…a state of motionlessness or inactivity…peace of mind or spirit…something used for support…quiescent, motionless…free of anxieties.
It’s interesting that out of the 74 words in the full definition of rest, sleep is mentioned only twice. However, since sleep is likely the source of the bulk of our rest, we’ll discuss it a bit.
It doesn’t take an advanced medical or psych degree to know sufficient sleep is essential in our overall functioning and health. And it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in sociology to figure millions don’t get sufficient amounts of sleep. Some of that is due to diagnosable disorders, and some can be attributed to lifestyle choices and habits.
Poor sleep often manifests in the daytime sleepies. And for some, it gets to the point where there’s interference with functioning, routine, and emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health.
Whether it’s due to sleep issues, or any of a multitude of maladies, learning how to grab some good quality rest is top-drawer important.
That said, how might we know we’re not getting enough rest (actually, when is it time to do something about it)? Here are just a few things to watch for…
- Those daytime sleepies
- Increased anxiety and irritability
- Depressed or elevated mood
- Oversleeping and its consequences (late for work, school, engagements, etc.)
- Frequent illnesses
- Facial signs – poor color, bags under our eyes, loss of glimmer in our eyes, etc.
- Interruption of functioning and routine
The 10 Hows
If you’ve determined it’s time to do something about your circumstances – to learn and practice rest – here are some thoughts and ideas…
- Carefully assess where you are in terms of functioning, routine, health, fatigue, and – well – rest. I say it time and again here on chipur – how can we expect to progress and heal if we don’t know where we are right now?
- Power Nap: 15-30 minutes is all it takes. Many employers allow it. If not, take one in your car.
- Simply close your eyes, even for five minutes if time is at a premium.
- Dedicate 30 minutes a day to meditation, yoga, tai chi (link to a chipur article), self-touch, or relaxation sessions.
- Engage in something you fully enjoy – that’s not too labor intensive.
- If you have difficulty staying still, find a diversion while you rest – reading, writing, listening to music, watching TV, playing solitaire, spending time on Facebook (or chipur), etc.
- Engage in calm conversation with your spouse, partner, or a friend.
- Be assertive in drawing boundaries for me time.
- Take a leisurely stroll.
- Keep detailed notes on what’s working – techniques, length of activity time, time of day, etc. I say this time and again, as well. How can we expect to know what’s working if we don’t track our results.
As you consider these notions, and begin your journey, always remember – being realistic, dedication, consistency, practice, follow-up, and discipline are crucial. The benefits just won’t be there without faithfulness to regimen and self.
Rest is essential in maintaining a peaceful, healthy, and satisfying life. And, you know, it extends well beyond the routine of it all. It’s a state of mind. And when it’s firmly established, it becomes a state of being. From there, it’s all good.
chipur is always about sharing and learning. What are your ideas? What’s worked (or hasn’t) for you? Why not share with us in a comment?
image: Vincent Van Gogh’s “Noon: Rest from Work (after Millet)”
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