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Your Success Lies In Rest
April 23, 2021 – The thirteenth official Friday Night BeerBlog
I have this very annoying habit. Well, it’s not annoying to me – I didn’t even know I did it until Mike pointed it out one night. This is how it goes… Me: (muttering under my breath) “Whew….(blowing air out of my mouth), I’m tired.”
I had no idea I was doing it – in fact a lot – until he pointed it out. From that point I started catching myself doing it, over and over. To the point I’m like “Damn. I must be tired if I’m unconsciously saying it all the time.”
REST. There it is. That four-letter word. Active rest, Mindless rest, Sleep. That thing that if we indulge in, we’re made to feel extremely self-indulgent. I mean any kind of self-care is selfish, right? Well, wrong. Rest isn’t only important for self-preservation, it can quite literally save your life.
All of our lives we’re told that in order to have worth we must be productive. If you aren’t being productive, you are doing something wrong. So we slog. We work long hours and we spend our days and nights taking care of everyone else but ourselves. All while whispering “Whew, I’m tired” and ignoring it.
But lack of rest starts to catch up to us eventually. If you are familiar with any wartime show or movie you know that lack of sleep is a form of torture for prisoners of war. It is akin to starvation. The body will die from starvation and will die from sleep deprivation. But before then it will affect your health because it limits your brain function which controls long and short term memory, attention, decision-making, hand-eye coordination, reasoning, and creativity. Ever work long and hard hours day after day and wonder why you got sick in the end? That’s why.
Why do we not allow ourselves to get enough rest? Why do we literally torture ourselves?
Babies and little people take naps. Is it just to give moms, dads, and kindergarten teachers a break? No, naps benefit the little people. We know this little person needs to get more rest because their little brains are recovering, growing, and learning while they rest. The same is true for us big people, but a little siesta is taboo. How dare we take time to do that for ourselves?
Any competitive athlete will tell you about the excruciating affects of overtraining. Not giving the body the rest it needs to recover from hard workouts. Every athlete had done it. Most start by thinking that they have to ride more, harder, faster – that is what will make them better. But ask any successful athlete what they contribute their good fortune to and they will tell you it is knowing when to rest and then forcing themselves to do it. All good training plans are built around rest.
I’m currently reading a book titled: Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. There are so many good parts and scientific-y stuff in this book about the Human Giver Syndrome, but the chapter on sleep and active rest is quite fascinating and I highly recommend the read.
So the authors of this book ask how much rest is adequate and science answers 42%. 10 hours a day. Now this isn’t necessarily 10 hours of sleep. Your body will tell you how much sleep you need – it varies for each person, but you need at least 10 hours of rest in 24 hours. Stress and the stressors that we are all under persistently impacts almost every system in our body – immune and digestive functioning, as well as our hormones. In order to keep these systems in check, we need to spend that 10 hours of rest maintaining a healthy existence.
So where do we find more time in our day to get more sleep or to just rest?
What do I look like – your mother? I can only answer that question for myself. I sneak in as much as possible here and there. My day actually starts with rest, even after just waking up. I meditate, read, workout, and listen to music before the workday begins. (Yes, working out is part of rest because it gears your body up to sleep better.)
During the day I force myself to get up from my desk and change gears. I take the dogs for a walk or just take a turn about the house. Just like when your phone is running low on battery life and you throw it on for the charger for 10 minutes, even a little recharge is better than letting it die. That 10 minutes could mean all the difference.
All I know is that when I start muttering under my breath about how tired I am, that message is seeping out of my body and out of my mouth and I’d better listen or somebody is going to pay the price tomorrow.
So, go sleep, go rest. Survive. Be your best you.
If you would like to LISTEN to this week’s podcast and hear Mike and I discuss the subject, the link is HERE: