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An Ode to Rest

'There is an ebb and flow to life, rhythms are in everything we do. There are times to push hard and times to rest and recuperate. But these days many of us are pushing harder and harder all the time. There is no cadence, only grinding effort.’ Greg Mckeown I have been talking to a couple of clients recently about a dip in energy and whether it was likely to be the time of year or something else? Something the past couple of years has taught me is that I have to commit to giving myself permission to rest. This might mean sleep, time out in nature, walking, chilling with family and friends or gentle exercise. In life I have often pushed through, not giving myself time to rest and recoup, feeling angry or frustrated at myself for not being able to pick myself up and get the job/workout/cleaning done when needed. Does this sound familiar?

There is much evidence to suggest if you don’t give yourself a chance to rest and repair, both physically and mentally, then your productivity in whatever you are doing is not what it could be and you are more likely to incur illness, injury or burnout. Society has become about working hard, playing hard, doing your best at work, with family, friends and with the wider community. There is guilt attached if you are not able to demonstrate the ‘correct’ stamina all of the time. I have also been guilty of these expectations. But what about if finding that downtime is as important as those productive, efficient moments?

Not only is this becoming more established in societal thinking and scientifically proven; it is now becoming a key area in which we look at to assess health and how we can improve fitness. The pillars of nutrition, movement and sleep/rest are key in equal measure for our overall wellbeing. You only need to look at nature which has a natural hibernation period we are entering to see that embracing this time allows us to reemerge in spring with energy and vitality.

In this sense, and with the fluctuation of hormones between varying people whilst the times and amounts we all might feel compelled to rest are different, we must all give ourselves permission to rest nevertheless!!

So how can we lean in and learn to love a time such as winter for encouraging rest and how can this be implemented into how we take part in movement?

  1. Try something new, if you find your normal routine is challenging to you to stay focused then why not try getting the endorphins flowing with something uplifting or varied to what you normally do, if you are lacking energy why not encourage a practice that has more of a skill challenge (such as reformer) or even something more strength based to ground and feel rooted.

  2. Vary the time of day you move, if you are feeling more inclined to sleep or snuggle under a duvet at night, why not try adding something into your day, is there a way you could schedule it into your lunchtime or in between meetings?

  3. Schedule it in, we all find that if things are scheduled in we are more likely to undertake it, also having someone else programming what you are doing can also help you to dedicate your focus to just turning up and listening to your body, rather than trying to make a number of decisions on what to do and when.

  4. Make it sociable, attend a class with a friend or family member, the motivation of doing something with others can be a boost, and you could even add in a coffee or chat after.

  5. Listen to your body, in all MovES classes it is always about doing what is right for you on a given time or day, just moving your body will provide you with an abundance of health and mental benefits so always feel empowered to work at whatever you level or pace is for that day.

And above all if you feel the need to just rest then it is ok to do just that!



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