You might recall the posts I wrote about boundaries and structure (here and here). Actually you probably do because it was just last week. In those posts I was learning a lot while I wrote and I think there was some really wise stuff in there! I should note that this wisdom doesn't really come from myself as much as it does from Lara, but I had a realization today that I wanted to share.
When you set a structure for your day- your time for work, rest and play, each of these things becomes automatically more important. With not even a week down I already feel more productive during my office hours. You don't need a lot of time to see the benefits of structure.
A notable area of improvement in my schedule has been the time of day I block out for rest. In the past I've had terrible associations with rest. Sleeping in, watching movies, laying around the house refreshing instagram, ordering pizza & even napping felt like a total waste of time. I felt guilty every time I took a break. Even when I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and taking a break when I needed one, I didn't feel revitalized or ready to work.
What I realize now is that rest is so important and actually vital to doing your best work. It's not just taking a break, but really refreshing yourself. It's what you do in those 20 minutes or 4 hours of down time that make the difference. Enter in the glamorous rest versus laziness debate. The difference is fundamental. Are you being intentional with your rest "activities"? Do you feel guilty? Are you feeling trapped and lazy? For me, it's completely obvious. To clue you in to my own personal idea of active rest, here are a few lists.
Coming home from work and plopping on the couch
Refreshing my instagram feed every 4 minutes and getting frustrated with no new photos
Thinking about cleaning something and not doing it
Watching 4 episodes of Gilmore Girls in a row
Eating peanut butter out of the jar for dinner
Not even attempting to pick up a book
Pretending that I'm going to read in bed when really I just fall asleep and don't set an alarm
Putting on a movie that I don't even like for background noise while I play on my phone
Having no set end to my resting period
Refusing to get dressed
Not standing up for more than 5 minutes at a time
Do you see what I mean? Embarrassingly enough I didn't make those examples up. I actually do those things. I don't even try to relax in a productive way or do things that fire me up. This has a lot to do with savoring the moment. I read about that on Leo's blog the other day and it was so interesting to me. Why is rest the hardest thing for me to savor? Well, besides chores anyway. :) This is something I want to continue working on!
Taking a bath with my favorite salts and candles
Tidying up my living room and watching a movie I've been dying to see
Practicing meditation or gentle yoga
Writing or journaling
Painting my nails
Hosting an at home spa night with facials and body scrub
Reading a book or magazine
Going for a run
Busting out my watercolors and creating something
Baking cookies for my husband
Listening to Ted Talks
Writing letters and sending gifts to faraway friends
The problem before I had structure was that I never felt right taking a break so I just fell into a pattern of laziness. It's especially easy to do during the winter. It's dark and cold and all I want to do is bundle up and let the DVD's keep rolling. But now that I'm aware of a restful time I can think about what would actually energize me. Sometimes it's going for a run, but sometimes I really do want to watch a movie. I don't want to feel guilty about my choices but rather be intentional about making them. I hope that as I keep my sense of balance I can focus on making rest a meaningful time, because it's so sparse these days. And who doesn't feel glamorous when they can just allow themselves to take a bubble bath and lie in savasana with no guilt? ;)