Most every health official or wellness magazine suggests that we all need to slow down and rest, and yet most of us refuse until our bodies force us to stop and take care of ourselves.
The million-dollar question is why don’t we take such good advice? And the ten-cent answer is that, for many, it seems selfish to stop and take care of ourselves when so much needs to be done in the world, our community and our own homes.
Like most of my friends, I was under the weather this week. Not really sick and not really well. I just had to stop and take some time in the evening and on the weekend to rest and not continue working as I often do after-hours.
We’re such a hard-driving society that the idea of rest seems to be a “mistake,” or even worse, we view it as a “problem” or “weakness,” and we have this false idea that we should be tough enough to push through the physical misery without wimping out or needing to slow it down and take a breather.
I’m not sure where you live, but here in South Carolina, something is in the air this time of year that has most of my friends coughing, sneezing, and generally feeling awful. And the flu is still lingering and has hit a few of these friends like a freight train. With the early blooming of trees and the yard seasonal allergies in full swing months ahead of time, it’s needless to say that most everyone I know is under the weather.
Now, since my weekly blog and podcast are not generally in the format of a health bulletin announcement, let me explain my reason for the topic today.
Simply put, I want to remind you that you have permission to rest. Really you do. In fact, you have every right to rest, and you might want to take me up on that offer before you physically, emotionally and mentally grind to a halt. Once you hit the wall and grind out, it will take two to three times longer for you to get back up and at it.
In looking around at my audiences, my clients, my friends and family, I’d say that we might be the most exhausted generation that has come along in years. It is not only due to work–although that is a big part of it. I also believe it is due to the idea that we have been pushed to think that we have to live in a perfect world (whatever that is) with little to no regard to the physical, financial or emotional cost. The silly idea that many of us have bought into is that we must live up to the false standards that are pushed on us by the media, magazines and the masses to uphold this heavy burden of perfection when in reality it is not any “reality” that you and I live in. So don’t fall for the mirage of slick magazine covers of beautifully photo-shopped people in their staged homes with their TV families.
I’m asking you to think for yourself. You can give yourself permission to rest when your body is begging for a pause… and know that it takes a strong person to recognize when enough is enough so you can maintain optimum health.
Beyond physical exhaustion is the emotional exhaustion that seems to weigh so heavy on hearts and minds. Turn on the TV, listen to the radio or just read through your Facebook posts, and you will see some unhinged people. And by their actions, they are fogging up our world with their anger and hate. Oh, friend, be careful that you don’t invite their vitriol into your life. Turn off the ways they have to reach you, and clear the air for your safety and that of your family.
Without a doubt, civility is becoming a lost art that requires us to pull back on the reigns of some of our friends and family reminding them that we act with respect even if we disagree. You have permission to rest from the fight whenever you choose.
Let me touch on the financial fear and exhaustion that is so life-consuming. You know my advice and the advice of every financial advisor out there: do yourself a favor and stop buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have. No one is impressed! Seriously, no one is impressed with your new gadget. Why? Because tomorrow someone else will one-up you with their newer gadget, and then all you’ll be is broke (with a cool gadget).
Come on, you are smarter than to let yourself be wowed by all that, especially when you know the price is going to drop in a month or two. I admit one of my favorite waste-of-time TV shows is “Storage Wars.” Yes, I know the bins are salted with some good items to make the show more interesting, but what I am always amazed at is how many bins are full of junk–serious JUNK–that is non-wearable, old, outdated and many times broken. And you know that at the time of purchase when they threw their money down the drain, it was the latest and greatest (at least for that season). Maybe that is why they hate to part with it since they overspent. Don’t allow yourself to become financially exhausted. You have permission to rest your cash and credit card until you find an item you need.
While I was resting, I caught up on some of my reading and came across one of my favorite cooking magazines that I had saved. It was the Thanksgiving issue, and it had some great recipes that I wanted to try. While the food looked amazing, the author repeatedly gave advice on how to make the incredible meal without losing the joy, peace and love in the season of Thanksgiving. And in the midst of the meal preparation, he reminded the readers that the big idea was more than the food; it was to be present and in the moment, thankful for those who would be around the Thanksgiving Day table. He “gave permission” to enjoy the day with or without perfectly made or displayed food, because when all the dishes are done, and the guests have gone home, only the memories of the day would be remembered.
I know this topic of taking time to rest seems a bit lightweight when so much is going on in the world, but I also know that you cannot partake wholly of the activities or excitement of life when you are worn out. So many times we allow others to push us to keep going when all that is in us is begging to stop and rest. Don’t ignore the signs of physical, emotional or financial exhaustion. It not only does damage to you, but also to those you love since you will not be your best.
You have permission to rest. Now be wise enough to listen before your body forces you to stop.