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Learning the Value of Rest

June 24th, 2015

I’m a doer, there is a lot on my plate and I like to maximize my time to get all the things done I want to do. The problem is, that I often don’t take quite enough time for rest. Over the past few years I’ve been learning to value times of rest. Often, time spent resting will actually increase our productivity in our work lives. That’s something we often don’t like to admit, as Americans we’ve been taught to work, work, work and then work some more. After traveling last week and having family visiting this week, I realized that I had to take a day of rest before jumping back into my responsibilities in my work and in the garden.
It’s kind of like taking a sick day before you actually get sick. One day off now can often prevent a week of battling sickness down the road. One day of rest can make us accomplish more in the days ahead. One day off can make us healthier physically, emotionally, and mentally. One day off can prevent the weariness that can lead to depression and anxiety. Learning to listen to our bodies and taking that day off when it tells us we need it is a valuable lesson to learn. These days can also teach us to slow down and enjoy the little moments. Often, on these days of rest, I notice things I haven’t noticed before, simply because I allowed myself to slow down. If you can’t take a day off, take a half day off, or even a half hour off. Even a few minutes of rest can make all the difference in how the rest of our day goes. Take time this week to stop and smell the roses or to sit back and kick up your feet.

4 Comments to “Learning the Value of Rest”
  1. Robin Follette on June 24, 2015 at 8:39 am

    It took me a long time to shake the work, work, work problem. I still do it, but I throw in full days off now and then and make time to do fun things. People often say “you must never sleep!” Not so. I have to sleep! If I don’t get a solid seven hours every night my productivity drops.

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  2. Nebraska Dave on June 24, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Susy, rest comes in many forms. Some would say sleeping is rest and it is. Most Americans don’t get enough sleep. They stay up late, wake up early to a blaring alarm, chug down the first of many energy drinks of the day, and rush off to a productive day. I’ve found my perfect amount of sleep is some where between seven and eight hours of sleep. After retirement, I would just naturally wake up after about six hours of sleep but that slowly settled down to mostly seven or seven and a half hours. Many folks have restless sleep and wake up several times during the night for different reasons. Sleep is the first and best form of rest.

    Another form of rest that most would think of would be just sitting and doing nothing by mindlessly watching TV or napping in the recliner. While that may work for some, it definitely doesn’t work for me. Low key activity is my best form of rest while awake. Even when heavy activity is scheduled for the day, I’ve learned to work a little, rest a lot, and drink lots of water. It may not really be considered rest but rest is involved with every day activities for me.

    Always pushing to the limit has indeed become the American way. Many factors of our American life style has affected health and one is proper rest. Unfortunately, I don’t see a change any time in the future. The only thing that will change in life is what we change in our own personal life. I spent a good portion of my life thinking I was locked into a life style I couldn’t change but it was really only what I chose to do that kept me there. Breaking free didn’t happen until retirement.

    Have a great resting day before going back to gardening.

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  3. Myra S. on June 25, 2015 at 8:12 am

    I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that I’m much more productive if I rest more. Though it sounds counter-intuitive to many younger people, it’s not. And it’s not being lazy to do nothing! To my husband, resting is doing something different than what he does every day though he may be just as active physically. To me, it’s reading without feeling I ought to be doing something else. I think resting can be going through the day without rushing every task, something we learn as we get older naturally. Resting rocks!

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  4. PennyAshevilleNC on June 25, 2015 at 10:34 am

    The times in my life I have needed rest the most were the times I was too young to know that. Now I find the moments that I can catch and the hours my husband and I schedule to be truly sacred moments.

    Without them, I lose the ‘why’ of working hard. We work hard so we can play as often as possible!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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