Happy 2016 Lovely!!!
If you’re anything like me, this time last week you were super pumped about all the ambitious changes you wanted to make this year. Then, the wicked hangover on January 1st is followed by going back to your usual routine of working too much, getting angry/ frustrated at how much the world sucks, and your ambition quickly turns back into familiar habits… I guess that’s why they say, the higher you reach, the harder you fall.
But what if our very own ambition was part of the problem? What if the compulsive need to “be productive/ stay active/ keep busy” was not just something you suffered with, but an addiction most 1st world citizens suffer from?
An addiction is defined as, “the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.” While most people automatically think of addiction being a drug, food or sex problem, one can become addicted to any substance, thing OR activity. Know of any “work-a-holics” “exercise addicts” or people so into spirituality/ meditation that they can’t talk about anything else?
Like anything in Life, when we go too far in any one direction, we have imbalance. Too much of a "good thing" can be just as bad as too much of a "bad thing." Yet this is not what we are taught. Society values hard work, discipline, dedication and going above and beyond. And rightly so - these are great values. Especially when we allow taking care of ourselves, spending quality time with loved ones, and resting when we are tired to be EQUALLY as valuable. It is the lack of value in these more “yin” activities that create the problem. Yang energy is all about action, moving forward, getting things done. Yin energy is about slowing down, going in, reflection and contemplation. They need each other to stay in balance.
Without rest, you cannot RESTore yourself. Without caring for you, you won’t have enough patience, compassion and love to care for others. Without quality time with your friends and family, that part of ourselves that craves companionship becomes bitter and lonely.
Think about it. How many times have you asked someone how they are doing and they reply, “I’m good, keeping busy.” Or, “I’ve had a lot of time off, but I’m still being very productive.” I’ve even had some clients confess to me that when they do finally have time to do absolutely nothing in their busy schedules, they feel guilty and restless. Sound familiar?
In addition to your New Year’s resolution to stay fit & healthy, get organized or quit ____, I officially give you permission to enjoy some downtime as well. If you have an hour or two without anything to do, savor it with a walk around your neighborhood, laying in the grass, or take a nap. It’s OK to simply rest. It’s OK to have time just for you. Self-care is about more than hygiene and keeping the physical body in shape. It’s about taking care of all of you - your mind, heart, AND body.
So next time you feel guilty for vegging out on the couch after a long week, I beg of you, let it go! That guilt is eating up precious YOU time. Next time you feel like you should be doing something, remember that allowing your mind and heart time to restore is something very important to do - for you AND your family. Because if you keep running on low, eventually you’ll break down and get sick. The body tells us what it needs, and it's our duty to listen.
How about you? What’s your relationship to rest? Let me know in the comments below.
Do you struggle with not letting yourself rest guilt-free? Or are you on the opposite end of the spectrum, resting too much and procrastinating on important tasks? As Hippocrates famously said, “all things in moderation.” Where do you need more moderation?
With Love & Integrity,