Last time we explored how even a few seconds off during the day could make a difference to your energy levels and I was urging you to take a break, to just go ahead and do it. And I am wondering how you are getting on with this. Have you dared try it? Has this rocked your life?
Today, we are going to stretch this concept further. In his marvellous book The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh recommends a day of mindfulness and slow living every week. Not our usual weekend is it? Spent rushing around doing everything we have not done during the week: shopping, housework, children’s activities, “compulsory” family luncheons. Not to mention those of us who answer work emails from home, to better hit the ground running on Monday morning. As we rush through our week at 200 miles per hour, we pour on the weekend what we have not been able to do before and we go for it at the same speed, unable to stop. Here is an idea: take the essentials, do them on a Saturday and keep the Sunday free (or the reverse!) to… do nothing! Worried?
Yes, you have a right to rest (especially hard to take in for some of us), even a duty. Your body and your mind are screaming for it. Not always possible, of course. But if you try and put it as a rule that you can sometime overrule, you will have already accomplished quite a lot. And if you “have” to do something that day, do it as simply and slowly as possible. Do not plan anything or just ONE thing you love and if on that day you don’t feel like doing even that, well, don’t! Treat yourself to freedom! No work, no meetings, maybe simple things like a cup of tea, a good book, some soft music, a slow walk, a light simple meal, anything you enjoy doing. Try having a day off everything: at home, with no TV, no phone, no computer… Or reconnect with a former hobby you loved and have not found time to do in a while. Breathe!
A study by researchers at the University of Rochester, USA, says people feel happier and healthier with fewer aches, pains and symptoms of stress when they spend the weekends doing exactly what they fancy.
The truth of the matter is that our bodies and minds are not meant to be functioning 24/7. We are not machines. Our brain and body work particularly well when they have time to recharge. When you answer your work emails from your phone at home or open your laptop to polish of a presentation, you are not working ahead. You are in fact wasting time and energy. On Monday morning, you will not have the fresh and clear thinking that would make a difference, help you zoom through your tasks with renewed energy and find the amazing creative idea that will save the day for the whole department and get you noticed.
So… what are you doing next weekend?