So you STILL let the proverbial “inner slave driver” keep you from creating healthy rest habits, even though logically you understand that resting is an essential part of action, right? And you're frustrated. Totally normal! One reason I am focusing so heavily on this subject lately is that the slave driver is darn stubborn, and old habits of thinking are hard to break, for all of us!
As I sat with a friend the other day, she shared (again) , like many clients share, about how over-scheduled her life is, how there is simply no down time. Rare is there a chance to slow down enough to connect with her husband, or to play with her child. On the hamster wheel of the daily grind, her body is locked into fight or flight mode and she feels stress and anxiety as her normal companion. As a result of all this she shared, “My heart just isn't in things these days.” Without convincing her inner slave driver that chilling is essential, and then actually engaging in the act of resting, she is headed for trouble.
It took me a crisis to integrate resting into my life regularly, and I still occasionally need harsh reminders to keep this healthy habit up, like the sickness I wrote about recently, or the crabby mood I often find myself in on a thursday afternoon if I don't rest for a while when I get home after 26 straight hours at my job. But I have successfully learned to question my thoughts when they shout: “don't stop, keep doing Something!” I now (mostly!) have healthier habits that have convinced my slave driver not to drive me into crisis. But how?
The best way to create new habits is to start small. Commit to a small healthy new habit for a while (like the following, or, if you prefer, the first quick rest method I wrote about last post, or one of a million ways that might work best for you), to experience the benefits of it first hand. Start with 5 minutes a day, for a few weeks, to create a sustained habit. Here is your 2nd delicious way to consciously restore daily:
Let your body take a rest
Inhabit your body from within. Sitting or lying down, do a 5 minute mini body scan, moving slowing with your awareness from the legs up to the head. As you do so, let go of the idea of form and simply feel the sensations that live in each area of the body. Notice your breathing. Notice it deepen. This is true resting, as attending to sensation in the body activates the rest-digest system, restoring you deeply. You'll have more energy, efficiency and clarity after doing this.
I gave my friend some Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) audio recordings , an even deeper and more restorative body based rest process (I have one available for purchase, contact me for details). Start small with the above method to soften your inner slave driver by giving it real life experience with the Holiness of Nothing. Build up to these half hour Yoga Nidra experiences.
My hope is, like my own experience has been, my friend will begin again to find meaning and a sense of “having her heart in things again” as soon as these moments of Nothing become habit in her life. In fact, it is already happening: I saw her last night again and her eyes were lit up, she talked joyfully about some herbs she had just been collecting, with her heart clearly in every word. She had taken time over the last week to actually take a conscious break from her daily grind. And I wish the same for you. Click here to see how I could help you further in that process.