For two posts now I've talked about why I think rest is paramount and how I believe we sometimes choose to be busy even when it's not what our hearts long for. Now I'd like to get practical. How do we choose rest? What does it look like in the daily grind of life?
Here are some thoughts that came to mind as I prepared for this post:
- Walk slowly. Sound simple? It is. I learned this one from my husband. He's a slow walker. Me? I'm a speed walker. When we started dating I quickly learned that if I wanted to be near him while we were walking, I would have to slow down. He absolutely refuses to be in a hurry. (Incidentally, this reminds me of my grandfather's advice when he was teaching me to drive. He told me: "don't worry if they ride your bumper; if they're in a hurry, they can go around.") The wisdom both of these men taught me is this: when you move slowly, you physiologically have a better sense of calm. Other parts of you (not just your feet) begin to slow down (your thoughts, your breath, the quickness with which you make judgments). It's really hard to be stressed out about something if you're moving slowly. Trust me.
- Breathe. Another simple one but oh-so-profound. Just ask any Yogi. Breath not only physically relaxes you - moving oxygen into your system, giving your body what it needs - it also psychologically takes your focus off of whatever is stressing you out and forces you to focus on something simple. The sound of your breath moving in and out of your lungs. Out of simplicity comes clarity. What really matters remains. That is a restful state of being, a state in which you are only carrying that which really bears carrying, a state in which you have let the non-essentials go.
- Find something that rejuvenates you and then do it. This doesn't have to be complicated, folks. You don't have to fight through the "but when will I find the time?" thoughts. I'm not saying you should go sky-diving every Monday. I'm talking about picking up a Real Simple magazine and forcing yourself to actually read it. Slowly. Perhaps while sipping tea. Or, take a bubble bath even though the laundry isn't finished. Or, sit on your porch. Whatever it is that works for you: do it. Daily if at all possible (no, that isn't self-indulgent - it's necessary).
- Pace yourself. This is where I've had the most trouble and it has taken me the longest to learn. I will move too fast and do too much and then crash and burn. Again, enter husband: he taught me to recognize when I was doing this and to cut my expectations by nine-tenths. In other words, if I mentally had a list of ten things to accomplish in a day, he told me to begin to expect that I would complete one. WHAT?!? One?!? That sounded crazy to me at first. And, of course, it was. I could finish all ten if I put my mind to it. But could I finish them well? Would my family be happy and feel loved after my accomplishments, or would every one of them - including my husband - be in a state of meltdown because I had been pushing so hard? I may have finished that blog post, polished the floor, cooked the dinner, but did my two-year-old feel neglected? Was I so fried by the end of it that I had no energy for night-night routine? Did I get snippy with my husband when he came home from work, all for the sake of getting stuff done that, really, could have either waited until the next day or not been done at all? Adjusting my expectations and pacing myself has without a doubt made the most profound impact on my ability to walk in rest daily, hourly, minute by minute.
Linking up with Tiffini at Word Women Wednesday this week. Be sure to check out some of the other ladies' posts!