Entry No. 7 – Antidote to being “Busy” and the importance of REST.
The debriefing starts now…
It’s easy to get burned out in today’s fast-paced society. Chances are, no matter HOW many hours you’ve slept the night before, you find yourself needing a moment to pause.
Obviously, you can’t doze off at your desk. Or behind the wheel. Or in the library. So maybe you combat this sluggishness with a trusty pack of Sour Patch Kids, or a mediocre cup of coffee to get through the mid-day blues. Sound familiar?
**by the way, if you nodded at the mention of Sour Patch Kids, that was a test. You failed. Put those Sour Patch Kids down!**
The truth is, our bodies are not designed to operate full throttle 24/7. I know it’s easier said than done, given the increasingly-popular belief that being “busy” equates higher work ethic, a better quality of life and social status.
“We examined how signaling busyness at work impacts perceptions of status in the eyes of others” wrote authors Dr. Silvia Bellezza (Columbia University), Dr Neeru Paharia (Georgetown University), and Dr. Anat Keinan (Harvard University). “We found that the more we believe that people have the opportunity for social affirmation based on hard work, the more we tend to think that people who skip leisure and work all the time are of higher standing.” [quote borrowed from Daily Mail UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4340190/Being-busy-status-symbol.html]
Do you concur with this belief? I certainly don’t.
The disease of “being busy” hasn’t wooed me into behavioral compliance, as I find myself making a more conscious effort to say NO and turn down offers (both social and professional) that needlessly overwhelm and exacerbate my stress levels. We are human beings…not human doings. And we need to get back to prioritizing REST amiss the daily chaos. If you wait for society to give it to you out of charity…you’ll find yourself in the ground long before that gift arrives.
That being said, let’s talk about different types of rest and why they are equally important.
Active rest involves light exercises that facilitate recovery from your intense workouts, without causing further muscle breakdown. Think of: swimming, an easy hike, a bike ride, playing with the kids outside, or taking the dog for a walk. Active rest can also be mental, providing neural stimulation that keeps the brain young and lithe. Think of: a game of chess, board games, gardening, arts and crafts, woodworking or even tinkering on your vehicle (or motorcycle, haaay!). Fitness is not a fad, but a lifestyle, and finding ways to incorporate gentle activity outside of your training will make life adaptable and fitness feel like far less of a chore.
This is the type of rest that “busy” people, and goal-setters, loathe. Passive rest involves quiet time, allowing yourself to day dream or contemplate on life. It could also involve writing, reading a book or painting. While this may seem like “wasted time” to busy folks, passive rest has a huge impact on your overall well-being.
Researchers at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California found that these reflective moments, devoid of external stimulation, allow your brain to access a default mode of neural processing, which is critical for helping you develop a greater sense of self-awareness, recall personal memories, make moral judgments, and give your life meaningful perspective.
Our ability to focus without tech-stimulation is at an all-time low. Think about what you see when you’re at: a restaurant, grocery store, coffee shop, kids’ sporting event, or a social gathering. People can NOT stay off their phones; being present and in the moment is becoming an ancient practice. The unhealthy need for constant external stimulation deadens our neural processing abilities, which affect our social-emotional well-being.
For many of us, passive rest will be the most difficult of the three to cultivate. But I promise, it is worth your efforts.
Yeah, I’ll say it. Drink that glass of wine. Order that beer with the fellas. Doll up to brunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Don’t worry about your macros today…you’ll survive.
Each and every one of us needs social time to be around those we care about. It’s a critical way to combat the stresses of our daily grind, and provides psychological, emotional and even hormonal benefits. If brunch and Pay-Per-View fight-nights at the bar don’t quite do it for you, take the time and research volunteer organizations, or personalized groups, that interest you. Depending on where you live, these can include: fitness, martial arts, fine arts, cooking, child care, elderly care, food drives, city-wide clean up, educational mentorship, crafting, aviation, gardening, or even animal conservation. Google is your friend.
That’s my five minutes for the day.
With love, and GAINS.
Today’s Random Nugget: Amelia Earhart is the most celebrated female pilot in history. As America’s “Lady of the Air,” she set many aviation records. Earhart became the first woman (and second person after Lindbergh) to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932, and the first person to fly alone across the Pacific, from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California, in 1935. In 1937, during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe, she disappeared somewhere in the South Pacific. Her fate remains a mystery.