Guilt Free Rest
In New York City and I’m sure in a lot of other places in the United States, we often feel guilty for taking a break, putting our feet up and just letting our bodies restore. It is viewed as a waste of time or being lazy, and I have personally battled with the guilty resting syndrome for a long time. As a freelance video editor, my jobs and client list hasn’t always just magically found its way to me, it took a lot of hard work and pavement pounding. I used to feel so guilt ridden when I took a lazy day off where I didn’t send out an email or try to solicit some kind of new work. And it took me a while, a really long while, to realize that I too deserved a vacation and a mental health day from time to time.
This past week I contracted the flu and it forced me to stay in bed over the weekend, and honestly, it felt great. I had the excuse of being sick and so I was able to lie around, guilt free and I found myself smiling as I queued up some online streaming and kept the tea coming. But why should you have to get sick to feel like this?
Rest shouldn't be a treat, it should be a daily practice.
At the end of a yoga class, you receive all the benefits of that class through savasana, and in life you also have to take some savasanas. Allowing yourself to rest, even just a short time, is the only way to allow your body and mind to absorb the lessons and receive the benefits of all the hard work you’ve been doing. How else can you digest or process new information? Life isn't a test that you can just cram for, you actually have to study and learn and that is sometimes a slower process for some people. Time is a beautiful gift and you should give it to yourself as often as you can. And if you don’t, you’re going to get burnt out, or maybe develop some kind of dis-ease or simply work yourself into sickness. Have you ever noticed how many people get sick when they finally take a vacation? The body and mind are finally allowed to relax and then they want to purge all the nasty gunk that’s been built up and stored in the clenched muscles and hunched shoulders of your overworked system.
In this new ‘treat yourself’ culture, people are starting to adapt a little bit more self-care and mental hygiene practices, but I don’t believe it should be kept for something you do once in a blue moon.
You work hard and you should rest hard too.
Personally I have been working hard on relaxing by scheduling it into my day. And by allowing the guilt to bubble up, greet it with a smile and let it go as I rest. This self-love practice definitely takes practice! So if you’re not sure how to begin find someone who can help you learn how to relax, guide you into health or find a teacher who embodies the qualities of life that you want and ask them how they do it.
I think restorative yoga is a wonderful gateway drug for self-care and that's one of the reasons why I teach it. So please reach out to me if you’d like some help or guidance towards healing, health and happiness.
My restorative yoga teacher says that when your plans get canceled, take it as a blessing, and don't schedule anything in it's place. It's good homework, so give it a try next time someone or something gets canceled, you can watch this Buzzfeed video on how it's done: https://youtu.be/k64Bo9J-t1I 😂