September 3, 2010

The Rest Principle....ever heard of it?

Today is Friday. The Friday before the long, Labour Day weekend. For me there are two starts to the "new year". One is, obviously, January 1 and the other is the first day of school.  It's a whole new year of possibilities, opportunities, and many lessons learned (hopefully).

So, on the eve of the last long weekend of the summer, I decided to write about rest. There is a principle of fitness called the Rest Principle.  Of all the principles, it is my favorite one.  This principle suggests that unless you rest your body and allow your tissues (muscle fibre) to repair after your bout of exercise, your performance and energy levels will slowly decrease and you will not benefit from your efforts.

For example, if you work your upper body one day; you rest it the next. If you perform a very heavy and intense cardio session, you do something lighter the next day. However, I'm not talking about fitness (It's soooo yesterday....). I want to apply this principle to health - yup...I'm cutting edge, baby!

For all those out there (my one, lovely reader), who work long hours, struggle with chronic stress, never get anything done, sleep less than 7 hours a night, and feel like you are working all the time.....take a break this weekend. Take a rest. Is what you need to get done really that important? I mean, will your world fall apart, will the seas start to bubble, will little children be running in the streets screaming if you don't get it done this weekend?

The pressure to perform is usually self-induced based upon a crazy belief that we MUST get it done or else......what? So, I suggest you seriously consider taking a mental health day.  Create a schedule for this day that is based on all the things you love to do or don't make a schedule at all and live it minute by minute. Stay in your PJs, have breakfast for dinner, watch movies all day (without thinking..'there's something I should be doing'). That kind of thinking makes you sick (and very boring) in the long run.

If you don't do it now, you will be taking sick days later. But don't believe the book "When the Body Says No" by Dr. Gabor Matte. It is brilliant and slightly scary as it points out the importance of managing your stress and taking your life down a notch or else you may live (or not) to regret it later.

So invest in your health, take a break, enjoy the rest, turn off the technology and sit in quiet and just see what happens to your thoughts (and what you remember as memory is related to stress). Turn off the TV, radio, iPod, cell phone, Facebook, and computer. Go for a walk in the woods - nature has a way of waking us up to the great things in life.

Me? I'm spending the weekend on Saltspring Island with the man of my dreams, a hot tub, porch on the ocean, BBQ, wine, and without a plan!

Here's to the new year!

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