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Do you make time to rest? Intentional, unadulterated rest? Between professional responsibilities and home life, it's easy to get swept away and forget to return to a basic fundamental like resting. It's more than sleeping, it's taking a break, both body and mind, from the strenuous activities that otherwise occupy our time. The idea behind rest is to recover and there are some things as human beings we cannot do to recover, sometimes it requires not doing.
Brian's experience with rest comes at a very coincidental time in my own life. I've been playing catch-up at work and in my personal life for the last year. For a long time, for over a year, it felt as though I kept drawing breath, inhaling over and over, and only once in a while getting to let a little of it out. This past week, I've finally been able to exhale.
There are a couple things I've learned from the past year, in which it felt like I had a severely skewed ratio of work to rest.
1) No one is going to give me rest. People can tell me to take rest, but it is something I have to take and seek out myself. This may be anything from setting boundaries to giving myself permission to just take a step back from my work, but as Brian says… it has to be intentional.
2) The less you rest, the harder it is to find enough of it. Have you ever been really dehydrated? Not just thirsty, but severely low on fluids? (Maybe when you had the flu?) The basic cause of dehydration is when the body uses or loses more fluids than it takes in. Symptoms of dehydration are one thing (dizziness, thirst), but complications arising from it are another (we're talking kidney problems, seizures). Replenishing fluids in the body is the only way to prevent dehydration and, likewise, rest is the way to prevent a number of symptoms that lead to intense complications.
Taking rest while I'm consumed with stress about work is really difficult for me. I have a deep sense of responsibility toward my work, which is usually a strength… but it becomes a weakness when I start underperforming because I'm overcommitting. I am slowly learning how to take a day of rest for myself, to step away from computers and work and do something else (I've been painting, lately). It's not easy to convince my mind to let go, but it's an exercise that feels more and more essential the longer the pressure endures.