As I write this I am half way through a summer break, and I’ve been thinking about how lovely it is to have a rest. I love my work, and yet a rest is important. When we’re at full tilt with our work or our life, are bodies have a certain amount of adrenalin in them – if we are very busy, as I have been, then there’s a lot of adrenalin as our bodies try and keep up with the demands being made on them. Even mental demands, when we might be physically quite still, require a lot of adrenalin and cortisol (the other stress hormone) from us. We then need to physically wind down and allow our bodies to rest before we gear up to meet life’s demands again.
Having a break serves another purpose too. It allows us some ‘time out’ to reassess what we’re doing. Are our life priorities right? Are we on track? Are we heading in the direction our hearts want us to go? Before we take an important step forward it’s good to pause slightly and gather our energy and (if it’s needed) our courage. Cultural myths and stories often have the hero or heroine spending some time still or reflecting before they step into the next part of their adventure or challenge. Stillness helps us get in touch with our souls.
Many people try and avoid resting, of course, as stillness can bring up lots of difficult feelings that activity has been pushing down. They would rather ‘crack on’ and focus on the next thing to do, rather than consider where they are in their life, even for a short while. This can lead to illness in later life, as well as regret.
So whatever you’re doing this summer, and whenever you have your break, I hope you use it well and that you feel refreshed and in touch with yourself.