Why You Should Take It Easy (Seriously)by Elise Museles
- Scientists & researchers around the globe applaud the benefits.
- Philosophers & spiritual leaders have been promoting it for centuries.
- It revs up your metabolism, skyrockets your energy, and boosts your self-confidence.
And just a little more of it can transform your whole life – in a beautifully positive way.
Nope – it’s not a pill, powder, diet, or program.
It’s called: Relaxation. Down time. R & R. Taking a break.
Did I lose you there for a second? Are you suddenly feeling the urge to dive right back into your inbox or finish that project?
Trust me – I totally get it. But stay with me.
The truth about “busy-ness”
When was the last time you did nothing? I mean, looked at your calendar or to-do list and intentionally (gulp), left a blank white space.
There’s an old saying: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” You didn’t need to convince me of the math: a full calendar + feeling overloaded = productive.
As my mentor Marc David sarcastically says, “Busy is the new cool.” And he’s got a point. Think about it. If you ask someone how they are doing, 9 times out of 10 they will answer, “I’m busy”.
I think “busy” has become the new normal.
Here’s the problem with that mindset: When every day orients solely around our calendars and to-do lists, we start to lose touch with the other crucial facets of our lives. We can gradually find ourselves out of tune with our relationships, health, and self-care routines.
Worst of all, it sets us up with a one-way ticket to burnout.
What’s a fast-lane driver to do? How do we wean ourselves off of this overload mentality, while still feeling productive?
So I decided to try an experiment.
I turned Sundays into my day of rest. I would leave the day absolutely open – no plans, no calls, no alarm set, nothing. I would wake up whenever, and go with the flow in rhythm with how the day unfolded.
And you know what? It was tough, and I was totally antsy at first! After years of waking up at the crack of dawn every single day, suddenly I had to force myself to try and sleep in!
Being totally unscheduled was so strange…and a little uncomfortable. I spent the morning and afternoon doing whatever I felt like doing: cooking, working out, spending time with my family. The shift was subtle but clear. I wasn’t feeling pressure to complete something or be mastered by that day’s next appointment.
Over time I noticed my rest days weren’t “a total waste”. The down time helped me rejuvenate, so I had even more energy and focus for everything going on during the week.
The reason doctors, religious leaders, and philosophers agree we all need time to rest is because it makes us stronger. Even professional athletes & marathon runners take a day off, in peak training mode, for this very reason.
Still not convinced?
Here are a few ways relaxation kicks up your whole quality of life:
- Heightened Awareness
You might have a hard time focusing and being mindful at first but give yourself space to slow everything down. You’ll realize how much more time you have to savor all the subtle and amazing pleasures life has to offer.
The opportunity to truly enjoy the little things can shift your whole perspective and have a profound effect on your overall happiness. It’s a chance to tap into your sense of joy, sensuality, gentleness, and emotion. Imagine what your life would look like if you paid a bit more attention to your heart’s delight?
- Healthier Body
Believe it or not, being constantly on the go does your body more of a disservice than a slice of chocolate cake. As an example, when you’re eating and rushing through a meal, your metabolism doesn’t work as efficiently, and you risk digestive upset.
Take the time to eat your meals in a calm, relaxed state. This reduces your release of cortisol – a hormone that can contribute to everything from weight problems to increased stress.
- Your Intuition Amplified
With all your busy-ness, you may be missing out on some of the signals your body is sending. And the only way to truly tune in and access your body’s wisdom is to slow down, relax, and really listen. Slowing down also reminds you to place more value on what you want to do, versus what you think you should do.
I wholeheartedly encourage you to start practicing what religious leaders and health experts have promoted for centuries. Put a “day of rest” on the top of your to-do list this week.
Consider this your permission slip.
Question of the day: Do you believe in the rejuvenating power of rest? Are you a recovering busy-ness addict too? Share your comments & insights below.