“Imagine the lasting healthy change that could come from well rested people.” – Emily P. Freeman
We have been working at a frantic pace since early March – living with fear, anxiety, grief, loneliness and frustration – usually all in one day. Now that our state has opened up restrictions to allow more activities (think pools and summer camps, restaurants, stores, gyms, etc.), we are busier than ever. Yet we have to constantly remind ourselves, our staff, and our residents that we are still in a pandemic.
Our office transitions to “summer hours” from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with staff working more hours Monday through Thursday and taking (most of) Friday afternoons off. Since my husband also has Friday afternoons off, we compare lists. We clean the barn, the barn attic, the basement, the actual attic, and, of course, weed the garden. This is not rest, people.
Virtually everyone I know is in a constant state of stress. Our bodies’ response systems are usually self-regulating – when a perceived threat is gone, our hormones (especially cortisol, the primary stress hormone) return to normal. This long-term activation of our stress response and over-exposure to cortisol is not a healthy way to live.
Rest, on the other hand, appears to be a miracle cure. It can boost our immune system, improve motivation, promote creativity, increase concentration, and lower symptoms of anxiety and depression. Sign me up for some additional motivation, right now.
Earlier this month, our extended family spent a week in a rental cottage in Maine. While stores and restaurants were partially open, we brought our own provisions and mostly hunkered down in the cottage and on the beach. The weather was a bit iffy, but it really didn’t matter. This annual vacation is truly one of the only weeks of the year I can honestly say I am resting. Our typical vacations tend to be a series of forced marches through museums and other attractions in major cities. The fact that we can’t travel these days may make rest more attainable.
As many of you know, Very Kate is particularly unsuited to preach about rest. But here are the ways I have committed to trying to find rest this summer:
- I bought a lounge chair for my back patio and I will actually sit there.
- I continue to prioritize walking, especially on our local rail trail that has a real nature feel.
- I am now catching up on the reading I couldn’t seem to do during the height of the pandemic.
- I am watching the Great British Baking Show again. I’m embarrassed to admit that even after watching each series several times, I never seem to remember who won. This show is pure stress relief.
How about you? Have you found a creative way to rest? Please share!
Let’s practice, imagining how we could change the world for the better if we only had some rest.