Over the years I’ve had many rounds of getting ill and/or exhausted, being obliged to rest and then having to try and rebuild strength and stamina. This spring has already been really tough, with the impact of heavy bleeding leaving me anaemic. I’ve spent a lot more time horizontal than I wanted to, and of course it has cost me in strength and stamina.
In the past, when I’ve got to the rebuild stage, I’ve focused on the physical activity I could add to the mix. I have an indoors trampoline, which is great for a number of things. I have small weights, and resistance bands, so even if the weather isn’t good enough for walking, I could still exercise. Before I messed up my previously hypermobile shoulders, I used to swim as well. I did Tai Chi. I danced. That I’m not very fit, or strong, or slender is not from lack of trying – and I mention this because so many people assume that body shape is just about your lifestyle choices and really it isn’t.
This time, I’m going to try something different. I will of course get back to all the active things I can do, and I’ll try to do at least something every day. However, I am also going to try resting hard. I have been doing all sorts of things to try and improve my sleeping – with some success. I’m working out what kinds of things are good for me as down time – reading and crafting are particularly important. Also cat snuggles. I’m putting more of that into my day.
It doesn’t work to try and go flat out all the time whenever I’m well enough to get away with it. Sooner or later, I get ill. That may be going to happen anyway, but I think I can be better resourced if I plan more rest time into my life.
All too often, activity is framed as an unequivocally good thing while rest is treated as lazy, indulgent and unproductive. I’m going to change my language use. I’m going to rest hard. I’m going to have rest plans for building up my health. I’m going to be highly motivated to rest regularly. Resting gives me more resources, and if I pair it with things that feed my brain, I am ultimately making myself into a more functional and probably more productive person anyway.
Exhaustion and burnout are hardly efficient, nor do they result in good thinking, wise choices and quality output. Working people to exhaustion isn’t about productivity at all, it’s about subjugation. It’s time to reject that relentless work hard, play hard model. Work wisely, play happily, rest hard.