Friday, March 22, 2013
Every spring brings a sense of renewal and restoration as part of the circle of life. Spring also brings the "break" before we start summer know as Spring Break.
This annual ritual of Spring Break reminded me to revisit my relationship with rest.
Rest and I are good friends for the most part. A voracious sleeper who strives to get a full 8 hours nightly, I rarely have trouble resting.
All bets are off when I hit a stressful patch in life where my normal coping mechanisms fail. Restlessness replaces my restful spirit. Try as I might, but rest eludes me when I need it most - during stressful times. Fortunately, my normal relationship with rest is so good that I am able to endure these times of uncertainty and function on a little less sleep. Additionally, I am able to shut down the worry machine and allow rest to creep back into its normal prominence. But the main reason my relationship with rest is good lies in two techniques I use all the time which really come in handy during the crisis moments.
Breathe Deeply Often
When I am not stressed, I make it a habit to breathe deeply for some many minutes per hour. The full on stop-what-you're-doing conscious deep concentrating breathing. Even if for only a minute or 3 each hour, this technique I've learned in my B.E.S.T. coaching has changed my life. It brings perspective. It allows me to slow down and center my thoughts. Because I do this often already, during stressful times when my coping mechanisms need re-tooling, this breathing saves me. And those around me. I pause more before I speak. I breathe deeply before I respond. It is very inexpensive self-therapy.
Take Real, Full Breaks Away
This has been toughest as an entrepreneur but without question the MOST important task on my to do list. The to don't list. The stop working, stop thinking and just be moments. Everyone needs them. Few actually take them. Because of the intense pace of life I lead, I do this weekly and schedule consecutive days off quarterly and every six months embarks on a full-on vacation. Unplugged. No work. Few gadgets. Even when financially it is rough, days off and vacation are essential. They are the fuel to get you back on track. Your body and mind need time away. You should give it that time, regularly.
Every relationship you have is affected by the relationship you have with rest. If it is strained or non-existent, I challenge you this spring to give it another look. Take a chance and re-kindle your relationship with rest. Start with the two techniques I reference above and build from there. Ultimately, we all have our own interactions and needs related to rest - it is imperative that you build and maintain a strong healthy relationship with rest. You and people you do life with will thank you.