I have begun to embrace “Rest Days” during the week. I teach classes Monday through Friday these days and when I teach I have a hard time NOT doing the workout if it is in a group fitness setting. I love the energy, the movement and being caught up in motivating others to get a good workout. Therefore, when the weekend rolls around, I typically take a day, and sometimes two, depending how my body feels, to allow myself to recover. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned how important it is to let our bodies take the time to recover, grow and reap all the benefits of a little rest.
When I say a “Rest Day” I don’t mean sitting on the couch all day. Those are the days I might fit in a yoga class or take a long walk with my crazy dog. I try not to worry if the house isn’t perfect and take some time to read, work in the yard, maybe organize the week, meal plan or catch up on any projects. In a perfect world, this sounds like a good plan. However, what happens when you don’t feel rested after your “Rest Day”? I’ve been thinking about this lately and have come to the conclusion that it’s time to take a good look at what your Rest Day really is. It could be that you are Fake Resting.
Let me take you back to where this all began. This past Sunday evening, after an early dinner, I sat in my usual chair and must have let out a sigh and must have complained about being tired. The Husband looked at me, and in a not very nice tone, basically told me I hadn’t taken a day off. I balked at that telling him all I did was take the dogs on a stroll. He then reminded me that I had gotten up earlier than anyone else, done baskets of laundry, run all over with errands and not really sat down. Hmmmmm. Could he have been right?
RNS: You talk about “fake-resting” in the book. What is this, and how can it harm us?
SN: “Fake-resting” is when I wear my cozy pajamas and settle in at home to relax and connect, but underneath all that, the engines of efficiency and accomplishment are whirring inside me. I swing by each bedroom dropping off clean laundry. I stop at my computer to reply to another couple emails. I make sandwiches, refill juice cups, line up deadlines. While the rest of my family actually rests, plays, connects, I push and work and circle, ignoring my exhausted body, mind, and spirit. That’s fake-resting.
Shauna admitted to being caught up in fake resting. It hit me like a brick. That is just what I have been doing on my “Rest Days”!
She went on to say:
This isn’t necessarily about work-life balance, either, because a lot of time it’s not my work that’s wearing me out; it’s my life and the expectations I have for myself. A lot of us have rules for ourselves, whether never, ever missing a workout or never leaving dishes in the sink before you go to bed. These are what exhaust us, even if the work part of our life is under control. Those personal expectations for having to do everything at a particular level can be exhausting, and so I’m learning to let things be undone. Part of my work as a person is to consciously leave things undone in order to focus on other, more important things. I would rather invite people into the mess than keep them on the outside of my life any longer.
Wow. Did any of that speak to you? It surely did me. And it makes me think twice because lately I have actually made a concerted effort to let things go in order to “smell the roses” and “seize the day” and simply enjoy being present. I have tried to stop being busy just for busyness sake. I’ve actually allowed guests into our home when dust balls are in the corner and the house isn’t immaculate and the perfect candles are not lit in the hall bath. However, I obviously still need work. Allowing the dishes to stay in the sink in order have a conversation is not always easy. Letting the paperwork sit by my computer makes me really antsy but I know how much I love being present to hear a story from one of my boys. I know how much I love to lose myself in a good book for a bit. Oftentimes just a few minutes of mindlessness can leave me completely refreshed.
I brought this topic up one day with the women in one of my classes. Some nodded in agreement and others said this was completely impossible. Taking a day off, letting the laundry pile up or dishes sit in the sink was an impossible task for some. There just could be no rest until everything was done. However, when exactly is everything done? In my world, there is ALWAYS something else to do. So in my head I know the dishes aren’t going anywhere. They will be sitting the whether I have taken a few minutes to unwind or not.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating we all give up on our household chores and sit all day long. I am saying to take some time each week for yourself to recharge. It may be an hour with a book, thirty minutes strolling outside, sharing coffee with a friend, or simply sitting in your favorite chair for twenty minutes. This weekend I am challenging myself and you to try to make rest, real rest, this weekend and not Fake Rest that leaves you just as tired and disconnected as before.
*Congrats to Heather for winning the BeautyCounter Giveaway!!!
What about you? Can you let things go to be present? Can you allow yourself a little rest and recharge time? Do you also Fake Rest?
Enjoy Your Day!