Where's the rest?
My Why audio version of this blog available here.
As you might tell from my voice (if you're listening to the My Why audio version), it's not a normal week for me. And no it's not that I've overdosed on my Testosterone HRT.
After months of being safe from colds, thanks to Covid masks, my husband very generously snuck one into the house and shared it with me last week.
I want to share with you a brief-ish note on the importance of rest. Because having been laid up on the sofa for a couple of days it struck me that there are four types of people when it comes to rest.
Those that can, those that can't, those that won't, and those that warn't.
Sorry that just rhymed better. The last one is those that will.
Those that can
These special people know the value of rest, don't always want to do it but appreciate that if their body is fighting something, tired or stressed, then even standing upright is a lot of muscles to be working and just checking their phone is something that can have a negative effect mentally and physically. So they listen to their body and when needed they rest. Without guilt. Without worry. These are the amazing people that society should thank and look up to admiringly. These are who we should strive to be.
Then we’ve got Those that can't
Literally can't. This could be for a whole host of reasons.
Physically they don't know how to be still, they are unable to be present and in the moment, they need to keep moving or they can't cope. They have to be entertained constantly, their ability to just ‘be’ is zero. These might be the most dangerous category for coping with stress and what life throws at them, and in our current climate of constant stimulation with technology, they’re who I worry about the most.
Now, Those that won't. This harks back to slightly older generations perhaps and these guys have an issue with it. Again, could be for many reasons. They might have been brought up believing it's lazy or self indulgent, they don't know how to switch off (too many inner demons coming at them), they don't believe the body needs it, they insinuate others might need it, but they don’t, they believe the world will stop if they don't carry on, or for some reason they just don't need to. These guys have been revered far too much in the world, and actually aren't helping anyone, but I think that’s starting to change.
Then there's Those that will. How is this different from those that can? I hear you cry. Well, they go the other way and they just love to ‘rest’! They will 'rest' as much as possible, every opportunity, without releasing others around them also might need a break.
Now there’s dangers in most of these last three categories, because they all set an example to the next generation behind us.
One danger is that those that can't and won't, often look at those that can and mistake them for those that will!
Yes you heard me. You can re-read that if you need to.
I’m going to try something out to help you identify your category.
Over the last few years I’ve learnt how to rest well and often.
Your gut reaction to that sentence probably told you all you need to know. If you hear a tone of laziness about it, feel there should be guilt there, sense jealousy in you or think that sounds entitled - then you my friend are a can’t or won’t.
And with all their faults, rarely does a will person blame or judge others for resting, despite us making them out to be the bad guys. They’re just less judgemental while they're ‘resting’.
And sadly, the assumption that a can, is a will, almost always comes from a can't or a won't.
(I'm not sure that line will make it into the history books but it's really fun to say!)
And I'm here to tell you, if you can't or won't rest when your body needs it (and every body needs it) - you are not helping anyone at all. Even if your busyness is literally helping other people - it doesn’t matter.
We don't all like resting, cancelling plans, sitting still, not moving, but we need it.
It is never cool to be 'busy', it's not a badge to have no time (that's just bad time management), our society has got it all backwards. Those that know how to rest, sit, enjoy the day, enjoy the moment, sleep, nap, be bored occasionally, smell the flowers, wander through a field, paint a picture, write a poem - they're the great ones, they're the happy ones, they're the ones we should look up to and aspire to be.
I’ll leave you with some quotes to think about on this topic. Then have a think about your view of ‘rest’ and how you might be encouraging it, or squashing it in others through your example. Because a busy person telling someone else to rest when they don’t do it themselves, never comes across well.
Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. Maya Angelou
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. Chinese Proverb
Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness. George MacDonald
Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness. Richard Carlson
He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities. Benjamin Franklin
There is precious little hope to be got out of whatever keeps us industrious, but there is a chance for us whenever we cease work and become stargazers. H.M. Tomlinson
So I want to ask you, when was the last time you stepped outside for no other purpose than to stare at the stars?