There’s a lot of resources out there for what is known as “self care.” From meditation apps to YouTube guided meditation videos, subscription boxes and mental health days, our society has seen the need to help people slow down and rest. But do people do it?
I recently read that people are more likely to give their pet prescribed medicine than themselves.
This blew my mind…kind of. It can be a startling revelation until you watch people, talk to them, and assess their behavior. “Busy” is the badge of honor most people want to wear. In a world of “go-getters” showing you online how they have worked themselves into “success,” others are trying to keep up and prove something.
Our inability to settle down, make wise choices, and rest affects us and others. Our families feel our burnout. Through a bit of counseling I learned that exhaustion is my number one anger trigger. I’ll react unusually short tempered if I’m wiped out from days of going too hard.
I’m sure you can relate.
So, what do we do? There’s information and resources out there. There’s amazing leaders and influencers challenging people evaluate their personal health and decisions. But it doesn’t seem we’re listening. Or maybe it’s worse…we’re listening but not acting in our own best interest.
Do Something About Doing Nothing
The tension is simple really. We don’t want people to believe we are lazy. We want to prove we can “keep up” with the fast-paced society around us. Even if it means being worse than our best, we are going to push through. But what if we could keep up and rest up at the same time?
Now, for you it may not be a nap. It may be 15 minutes of meditation. It may be a few hours on the golf course or a cup of coffee at a place where no one knows you. For you, it may be a dip in the pool, a short run, or even a movie by yourself. Whatever it is, do it. Take that nap. And don’t feel guilty.
I would even take it a step further…plan to take that nap. You know your rhythms. You know the parts of the week/month/year you need to push yourself. And you know the times where things aren’t time-sensitive. Rest. Relax. Take that nap. Guilt-free naps are amazing. And again, I’m not talking about actual naps.
Understanding Your Rhythms and Needs
I know what it’s like to be driven. Last year I finished and published a book. I worked two jobs. And I worked with a startup show. My wife went back to work so I began spending more time with my kids. My kids are getting older so new activities came into play. There was a lot going on in 2018. But I didn’t burn out.
I attribute this to having a cohesive “life plan” in place. And this plan includes four things that keep me from burning out and blowing up…usually.
Rest is that regular rhythm of sleep. For me, literally taking a nap. Maybe sleeping in one day a week. For you it will involve sleep but it may mean more. True rest often means a clear conscience and a surrender of the day. Mentally, it’s understanding that I must do this because my brain and my body need it. It’s hard to give your best when you’re not at your best because you’re tired. It’s interesting to me how we will make sure our kids sleep like they need to but then ignore the same habit in our own life.
Relaxation is that thing that brings you back to “present.” The thing that you do to turn off everything and just be. Prayer, reading, meditation, watching shows/movies are all possible methods of relaxation. But it can vary. No matter what you’re doing to relax it probably won’t be done well if you’re not unplugged and disconnected. Not from people per se, but from the world. For me, a coffee shoppe and creative ambience helps me relax. Some studies show that church once a week improves health because of the communal nature of corporate gathering.
Recreation is that thing you do to have fun! Remember fun? Yeah, as kids we loved it. We thrived on it. We learned from it. But as adults we’ve abandoned these truths for the myth of work and success. To be honest, I’m terrible at this. I’m trying to get better. Finding a hobby that’s truly enjoyable is necessary to keep us grounded and enjoyable. For some it’s fixing up cars or making crafts. For others it’s golf or bowling. No matter what it is, we need it. All of us. Don’t forget to have serious fun.
Rejuvenation involves what you do to unplug, rest, and relax for an extended period of time. It’s the trip to the beach or the mountains. It’s a vacation with the kids. It’s a weekend away with the spouse. It’s that thing that brings you back to life and makes you feel whole, young, and excited for the adventure of living. For me, it’s a four day trip to somewhere new with my wife. I love these trips. Since we’ve had kids we’ve only missed this trip one year. And we both felt it. What brings you back to life?
A Few Other Things
There’s two other aspects to this I want to share. I believe they can also be scheduled regularly and even attached to the ones above in some way. But they are the secret to sustained health.
Retreats are intentional times of self-evaluation and introspection. It’s unplugging for a purpose. It’s a time of planning. Maybe it’s a few hours once a month. You get away to be alone and assess your goals and relationships. Maybe it’s a weekend to be alone and evaluate your recent past and dream of a preferred future. Either way, retreating from your life for a period of time with the goal of coming back more focused is a must if you are to sustain your joy.
Renewal is that less frequent time of sabbatical. It’s an extended period of time, months maybe, where you can align your life with your purpose and rest, relax, etc. for longer than normal. This might be taken every seven years or so. I know some companies that mandate this for certain employees. Why? Because they’ve seen the effects of going too hard too long.
What is it you need right now? More rest? A hobby? A vacation? Do you need new practices for unplugging and enjoying the moments that seem to get away from you? Whatever it is, I have but one encouragement…TAKE THAT NAP!
Why? So you can be better. Love better. Live better. Comment below and join the discussion!