I have two dogs – Maisie and Soupy. I try as best as I can to learn from them: the beauty of living in the moment as they find an amazing smell in the grass; the joy as they roll in said smell and grass; the deep concentration and meditation of chewing on a bone; and the art of deep, guilt-free rest. As I said, I try, but I’m always going to be a student of their wisdom.
The above picture is of Soupy. When I took the picture both dogs where lounging in the living room. They looked so peaceful I thought I’d join them. Upon closer inspection, I found Soupy asleep (see above-mentioned picture) and Maisie staring out the window, waiting, I’m sure, for something to happen. She is always in need of some kind of activity, be it physical or mental. Soup, on the other hand, models the art and joy of rest so effortlessly and so free of guilt that I had to make note of it. He epitomizes the phrase “a dog’s life.” He rests throughout the day, savoring the soft, warm embrace of the couch – getting up only to get a drink or change positions. While he does enjoy nice long walks and play sessions, he seems to be in his element and completely content when he is lying, relaxing in the sun or on the couch. There is something so easeful about the way he lives as opposed to Maisie, who is always thinking, waiting, watching, anticipating, planning, organizing etc. Sound familiar? Soupy has the kind of innate energy that leans toward rest. I’ll admit, when I see him looking so deliciously relaxed, I sometimes curl up next to him to soak it up. I’m innately more like Maisie, and I need the balm of Soupy to remind me just how revitalizing it can be to take a little siesta.
When we’re constantly over busy and over-stressed it’s very taxing on the body. However, putting little rest breaks into your day can be just what you need to recharge your batteries and feel more refreshed to face whatever your day brings.
Here are some ideas to bring mini-rests into your daily lives.
1. Pick 1 task to focus on. This came from a business coach I’m familiar with: Set a timer for 25 minutes. Do only that task for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, reset it for 5 minutes and take a 5 minute BREAK. It could be to take a walk, do some yoga or meditate, put your legs up the wall. The point is to take a break from whatever you are doing so that when you return to that task you feel refreshed. After your 5 minute break, you would return to the task for another 25 minutes and then take another 5 minute break, and so on.
I use this particularly when I’m writing, and it really helps me to focus, because I’m only working in 25 minute chunks. And the breaks really help me to recharge and refocus, and often give me a fresh perspective on things.
2. Plan to do a 10-20 minute Savasana every day. Commit to it for 1 week and see how you feel at the end of the week.
3. Give yourself a technology break. Take one day a week where you don’t turn on your computer. And, if possible, don’t turn on your cell phone either.
4. If you have more time and resources and can go on vacation, go for it. Or, you can even plan a stay-cation at home, where you carve out a certain amount of days (a long weekend is perfect for this) to not do chores or run errands. You only do things that “feed” you – body, mind and spirit: like taking yoga classes, meditating, reading, going for long walks, eating well, going to bed early – that kind of thing.
Ok gang – have fun building some rest into your lives. I’m off to give Soupy a snuggle, and if possible, wrangle Maisie into it as well.