In world where nutrition and exercise are over emphasized (yes, they are important and do have their place) we can often forget the importance of rest and play.
Rest and play are two important concepts in living a well rounded joyful life. If we are all action/effort and no enjoyment we will only create the fruits of our labor with no time to enjoy them. What's the point in working hard if there's no time to eat your fruit?
To put this in terms we can understand, let's look at busyness. We often times wear busyness as a badge of honor. If we're doing more, we're somehow more important, worthy or proud (choose your false belief). If we're busy, we don't have to look at unresolved issues within ourselves -- from our childhood, failed relationships or negative beliefs. Can we stop being people who measure their worth by how much they have going on? I'm not saying embrace laziness, but maybe enjoy the ease of life just as you make time for all the effort.
Rest and Play are two ways to embrace the ease of life, which holds just as much magic as the discipline of effort. How do rest and play benefit us? Let's look at rest first.
Rest is an opportunity to SLOW DOWN. In a world where everything is moving so fast, and we are easily distracted (enter social media) we rarely make time to be present. By now we know that mindfulness is an evidenced based practice that works -- it helps people stay present, find gratitude in what is going well and fully embrace the ebbs and flows life has to offer. Rest is an opportunity to be mindful. Rest allows our physical and mental body a break from activity and offers moments to "re-charge" ourselves. We all know that burn out is a real thing -- pushing ourselves beyond our limits and then wondering why we've became miserable at work, tired in our physical body, or moody with our partner when we arrive home after a long day. Rest gives us that much needed break from the continuous effort of discipline. Rest allows the pieces of our day, our life, to settle and be at peace.
Self-Care is rest, believe it or not. Sometimes we function in the belief that were are unworthy of self-care. Or maybe people have shunned us for caring for ourselves. Spouses or Bosses guilt tripping us for taking time off work, scheduling vacations or spa visits, etc. None of this true. Each and every one of us is worthy of self-care and it's important for our emotional and spiritual well-being. When we engage in self-care we send a message to ourselves that we are important and we are valued.
So, how can you rest? Here are a few options. Pick one, or a few, and give it a try:
Sleep past your alarm once in a while or skip a workout.
Call out of work and have an unexpected day off.
Schedule a massage, facial or spa treatment.
Binge watch your favorite TV Show.
Listen to an audiobook before bed.
Meditate (Insight Timer is free, and great!).
Go to a restorative yoga class or sound bath VS a power class.
Listen to music without doing another activity.
Have a longer than usual bath or shower.
Day dream! - Think about the most amazing things you want in life and envision achieving them.
Now let's look at Play. Play is important because it allows us to tap back into the realm of childlike possibility, a favorite trait of mine, which we lose as we "adult." Remember when you were young, and you could live in a world where ANYTHING was possible - even magic. You might have believed you could be and do anything you wanted, without fear of failure. You probably laughed more, connected more, and participated in life -- we had recess for a reason! Play allows us opportunities to "escape" the reality of our lives without having to numb out (insert your favorite numbing tool - drugs, alcohol, food, sex, busyness). When you make time to play, you don't have to disengage from live in unhealthy ways.
Play also gives us an opportunity to detach from the seriousness and stress of life. Life is mostly hard, this is a fact. So having moments of play are super important in cultivating a life of joy.
Take a look at 10 simple ways to integrate play into your daily life:
Art - paint, coloring books, or a random art project.
Book a vacation.
Watching a movie NOT ABOUT SERIOUS SHIT.
Laugh more - Go for the joke; laugh at yourself; laugh with others.
Go for a swim (or water park) or play in the sand.
Go dancing, or dance to your favorite song in your living room.
Sing out loud in your car.
Go on Playdates with friends - amusement parks, bike rides, escape rooms, bowling, the arcade or paint ball.
Join an adult sport's team.
When you exercise can you add some fantasy to your workout; maybe you're running from zombies, or part of the Avengers!
I can almost assure you that last one made you smile! ;)
So, can you integrate play and rest into your week? The answer, is YES. But will you?