DOWNTIME We need to make sure to incorporate rest into each day, each week, and each year.
As participants of a fast-paced, success-driven industrial world, we continuously strive for the linear experience. This means that we are always moving forward in life. We want to always improve, aim to be at our best and never ‘give up’.
We live by the idea that we need to be continually advancing in life. From when we are born to when we die, we are on a straight road, one that we find hard to step off for a moment to rest, look around and appreciate where we have got to, where we are and where we might go. When time is money it is very hard to take the time to stop. We value stability, hard work and the straight road – even, at times, to the detriment of our own health.
But we should be asking ourselves why we feel the need to always be doing things. Why do we only feel good if we are productive? Why do we see rest as lazy? Is all of this connected to our sense of self-worth?
Even if we like the familiarity of our routines and the distractions of a fast-paced life, it is undeniable that life and our world is full of cycles. The yearly cycle of seasons, the daily cycle of light and dark, the moon cycles from new moon to full moon, the tides push and pull, our hormonal cycles, our energy cycles that change throughout the day, even our sleep cycles through periods of light sleep to deep sleep.
Many of the pressures that we experience due to the industrialised world in which we live cause us to be out of sync with the natural rhythms or cycles of life. We force ourselves to stay awake far later than is optimal every day, and we push ourselves to work right through the day even if our bodies are crying out for a little rest. We struggle to say no to people even if we really don’t want to do what is been asked of us.
Can you honour your body’s rhythms or are you demanding peak performance at all times?
Take time to think about how you can use the cycles of life and nature to learn when to slow down and when to speed up. We need to make sure to incorporate rest into each day, each week, and each year.
How about allowing yourself 20 minutes each day to go for a walk, have a nap, or meditate? And allowing yourself one day per week to be off, completely?
Following nature’s lead, maybe allow yourself to be busier in the summer and have more down time in the winter. Now that we are in the midst of winter, will you allow yourself a little extra time to rest?
Jannah Walshe is a fully accredited psychotherapist, course facilitator and mental-health speaker based in Co Mayo. More information about Jannah can be found at www.jannahwalshe.ie.