Play until it's time to rest, then rest until it's time to play. - Martha Beck
A change is as good as a rest. - British proverb
We love both change and rest, so we thought we'd share a few of our favorite ways to rest, and validate that resting might not look the same for you as it does for someone else (and that's ok).
Barbara: My picture of rest has definitely evolved over the years. It used to be something that I did because I had to - I would go, go, go until I couldn't go any longer, and then collapse in a heap to rest for as little time as possible. I had this idea that resting was a necessary evil, something that took me away from what I needed/wanted to be doing. Rest meant sleep, and being asleep meant I wasn't awake, and if I wasn't awake I wasn't getting things done. (What the heck did I think I was doing that was so important, anyway? Sheesh! Also: any other over-achiever perfectionists in the house? Hi!)
Don't get me wrong, I've always known how to relax, unwind, take a walk, day dream, chill out with a good book and a cup of tea - I just didn't see those things as "rest." As a result, I rarely felt well-rested. I felt run-down, tired, resentful. Even when I got older and I started getting more sleep and being more intentional in carving out time to rest, feeling well-rested was the exception and not the rule.
That's shifted for me. I've let go of the picture of rest as something to be achieved, and embraced it as part of playing and creating. Once I began to see rest as a productive time for my mind and spirit, and not just as down-time for my body, everything changed. Now I rest at least as much as I play, maybe more.
My resting style these days encompasses a lot more than it used to - certainly sleeping, and also meditating and creating and connecting with people and doing the Sunday NY Times crossword, even exercising and walking the dog can be restful. Resting is an essential activity for me, it's not the absence of activity. See the difference? The result is that now I feel well-rested, and subsequently healthier and kinder, more of the time.
Elizabeth: Active meditation and conscious connection to spirit have shifted my experience of rest. I have always been one that loves sleep and respected my sleep/rest space (I was taught at an early age to sleep/rest whenever you can). Since making meditation part of my daily activities, I have notice one, my quality of sleep has improved, and two, when I feel a bit sluggish and in need of a rest or reset I can call on my techniques to offer a boost.
I don't want to paint a picture of perfection here. I am still guilty of doing too much and of "burning the candle on both ends" at times. However, my ability to recognize and see that situation occurring has gotten faster and better, allowing me to avoid the full on over-done, lack of sleep induced, dire need for rest. Instead, I have consciously built in the breaks, choreographed the pauses, composed a piece that includes both notes and rests.
The rests look like a deep breath, two minutes in meditation, a grounding cord before starting the next project, a 10 minute run around the backyard or a walk down the street, a dance party in the kitchen, or a laugh with family and friends. Sometimes the rest is about sleep, other times it is about hitting the reset button. Life is full of opportunities to work, to play, and to rest, each playing a key component to allow for the next.
Which piece are you playing right now? And have you created space for the others parts?