It's amazing how much we can fit into our work days with efficiency, multiple priorities and deadlines (I think there's a reason why the word 'dead' is in deadline) driving us to pack in as much in as possible. It's normal to skip lunch breaks and stay back after hours to get things done. Moving from the work to-do list to find another to-do list waiting for us when we arrive home, to care for our homes and families – for us multi-taskers this state of unrest becomes our norm. And without us realising, it can become our default setting, so much so that we can forget how to really rest and can't sit still. Sound familiar?
While being productive and responsible is a good thing, the downside is our essential natures (we too are living creatures) weren't designed to live on full throttle for the majority of our waking hours. The chronic stress and anxiety epidemic is testament to this fact. So our furry friends have inspired me to rediscover the art of rest.
I'm all for a good plan (Virgo trait!) and schedules are great for getting the most out of your days, but there's something to be said for having no plans – for having space to have sunbaths like my darling dog. I've grown to love having a weekend with no plans. I get excited at the space ahead to do all the things I love to do or to do nothing at all.
Regardless if I have plans or not, rather than filling up my days off with things to do, I first make space for rest and relaxation – to do whatever I feel like – whether that be having a long bath in the middle of the afternoon (best accompanied with a glass of good French Champagne and a good book), yoga, pottering in the garden (trying to convince my plants to live – sadly I did not inherit my mother's green thumb!) or napping on the daybed in the sunshine. Admittedly these are much easier to achieve without little people around (my son has flown the nest) but they're not impossible and essential all the same, plus your children learn the art of rest from you.
Our personal time is precious and it's up to us to determine how to spend it. So I minimise doing things I don't like doing (I refuse to iron!), I say no to things that drain me or don't inspire me (wherever possible) and put the fun/luscious/yummy/uplifting things to do on my must-do-priorities list. Everything else slots in around that, rather than the other way around. And with this shift, I feel far freer, less constricted and can breathe more deeply. And the best part is when I'm in this state of rest I'm more in tune with my intuition and my essential nature.
I rest my case.