Why rest is essential

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When, and how, do you rest?  Photo by Chris Thompson on Unsplash

We feel selfish when we take a rest.  But resting is an important part of doing.

REST SETS ACTIVITY INTO PERSPECTIVE

We are two people – the doing one, and the resting one.  Think of music – without the gaps in between the notes, music would be intolerable.  Think of breathing – without being able to breathe out, breathing in would be pointless.

In all these cases, the activity is pointless without the rest.  So, even if you consider yourself a busy person, include rest in your routine.  Otherwise, your activity will feel increasingly unsustainable and pointless.

REST IS YOUR BIOLOGICAL INHERITANCE

We have a biological clock.  A clock is a mechanism that is preset to operate in certain differential ways at different times.  The most obvious cycle it the asleep/awake cycle.  You have probably experienced the overwhelming urge to sleep at times, when your sleep cycle demands that you attend to it.  Sleep contains cycles of approximately 90 to 120 minutes.  Our daily cycle also breaks down into hormonal changes, which can affect appetite, arousal, and mood.

This means that, if you accept that your body has established patterns which maintain your health, there is some work to be done.  You need to make sure that you operate in sympathy with those patterns and rhythms.  You will have times when your body asks you to be alert, and times when your body is ready to rest.  It is best not to ignore those signals.

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A MEDITATION

Do I rest enough?

Sometimes I feel so tired, and in need of a gap, a time of peace, the chance to switch off.

My life, like a good piece of music, needs to divide into times when I am busy, and times when I rest.

Do I listen to my biological rhythms?

Do I respect my body’s daily cycles?  Or do I fight them?

Am I aware of the moment-to-moment changes in my body and my mind – in my appetite, arousal, and mood?

Am I mindful of the signals my body is sending me?  Perhaps I can watch myself, as a mother watches a child she cares about.  Perhaps I can spot when I am getting tetchy, and need to rest.  Perhaps I can spot when I am getting hungry, and need to eat.  Perhaps I can be a good carer for myself.

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