Right before Easter I hit a wall. I had a cold, wasn’t sleeping and my brain was running at about 50% efficiency. Wall meet me. Me meet wall. Ouch. The planning and packing for Easter camping was still underway and the demands weren’t trivial. In line with my “Prioritise Rest” theme for this year, I made sure to go to bed early. I stopped when I was tired or task switched to something less demanding. Good Friday was very quiet. I had the car packed and ready to go, but my child was out helping with the Good Friday appeal. So I meditated for half an hour, lay in the sun for half an hour and then helped out with the little things we’d forgotten.
The Easter weekend was very big. Lots happening, and much running around. Relaxing by the river was a priority but one I failed to meet. So when we got home I hit the wall big time. Massive headache and out of action for the best part of 24 hours. This is my body’s clear signal to stop and it forces rest. With a headache like that there’s no reading, watching TV or anything more strenuous than laying on the bed with soft music on. Not even a podcast. So much for prioritising rest – even the best of us miss the cues on this. I’d prefer to avoid this in the future, so implementing from better thinking around rest is critical.
Making space for better rest is critical and there are now mounds of research supporting this. We’ve instituted quiet time in the evenings for the kids to wind down and then the same for us later on during the night. Meditation remains a key part of my restfulness – although the discipline to get up and do it needs constant work! I reckon the biggest part of this focus is realising when the point of no return is passed and what to do after that. Couple it with a few changes – no coffee after lunch for example – to make sure the chance of a good rest is maximised. Without having good systems around rest, then it’s hard to get things to line up properly. My little fella is a great example of prioritising rest. When he’s tired he takes himself off for a snooze. Sometimes we go hunting for him and find him tucked up in bed punching out Zzz’s. Now if a 3 and a half year old can organise a rest, then we can too. I asked him about it recently and he said: “When I’m tired I go for sleep. Why don’t you?” Yes mate, dad does need to figure that out.
So I’ve had 10 days off and I feel partially rested because the last couple of days I really stopped and smelled the roses. Puttered about here and there, bed early and nothing too strenuous. Damn but I feel better because of it. I think there’s something in that for all of us…