Why You Should Take It Easy (Seriously)!

  • Scientists & researchers around the globe applaud the benefits.
  • Philosophers & spiritual leaders have been promoting it for centuries.
  • It revs up your metabolism, skyrockets your energy, and boosts your self-confidence.

Elise MuselesAnd just a little more of it can transform your whole life – in a beautifully positive way.

Nope – it’s not a pill, powder, diet, or program.

It’s called: Relaxation. Down time. R & R. Taking a break.

Did I lose you there for a second? Are you suddenly feeling the urge to dive right back into your inbox or finish that project?

Trust me – I totally get it. But stay with me.

The truth about “busy-ness”

When was the last time you did nothing? I mean, looked at your calendar or to-do list and intentionally (gulp), left a blank white space.

There’s an old saying: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” You didn’t need to convince me of the math: a full calendar + feeling overloaded = productive.

As my mentor Marc David sarcastically says, “Busy is the new cool.” And he’s got a point. Think about it. If you ask someone how they are doing, 9 times out of 10 they will answer, “I’m busy”.

I think “busy” has become the new normal.

Here’s the problem with that mindset: When every day orients solely around our calendars and to-do lists, we start to lose touch with the other crucial facets of our lives. We can gradually find ourselves out of tune with our relationships, health and self-care routines.

Worst of all, it sets us up with a one-way ticket to burnout.

What’s a fast-lane driver to do? How do we wean ourselves off of this overload mentality, while still feeling productive?

So I decided to try an experiment.

I turned Sundays into my day of rest. I would leave the day absolutely open – no plans, no calls, no alarm set, nothing. I would wake up whenever, and go with the flow in rhythm with how the day unfolded.

And you know what? It was tough, and I was totally antsy at first! After years of waking up at the crack of dawn every single day, suddenly I had to force myself to try and sleep in!

Being totally unscheduled was so strange…and a little uncomfortable. I spent the morning and afternoon doing whatever I felt like doing: cooking, working out, spending time with my family. The shift was subtle but clear. I wasn’t feeling pressure to complete something or be mastered by that day’s next appointment.

Over time I noticed my rest days weren’t “a total waste”. The down time helped me rejuvenate, so I had even more energy and focus for everything going on during the week.

The reason doctors, religious leaders and philosophers agree we all need time to rest is because it makes us stronger. Even professional athletes & marathon runners take a day off, in peak training mode, for this very reason.

Still not convinced?

Here are a few ways relaxation kicks up your whole quality of life:

  • Heightened Awareness

You might have a hard time focusing and being mindful at first, but give yourself space to slow everything down. You’ll realize how much more time you have to savor all the subtle and amazing pleasures life has to offer.

The opportunity to truly enjoy the little things can shift your whole perspective and have a profound affect on your overall happiness. It’s a chance to tap into your sense of joy, sensuality, gentleness and emotion. Imagine what your life would look like if you paid a bit more attention to your heart’s delight?

  • Healthier Body

Believe it or not, being constantly on the go does your body more of a disservice than a slice of chocolate cake. As an example, when you’re eating and rushing through a meal, your metabolism doesn’t work as efficiently and you risk digestive upset.

Take the time to eat your meals in a calm, relaxed state. This reduces your release of cortisol – a hormone that can contribute to everything from weight problems to increased stress.

  • Your Intuition Amplified

With all your busy-ness, you may be missing out on some of the signals your body is sending. And the only way to truly tune in and access your body’s wisdom is to slow down, relax and really listen. Slowing down also reminds you to place more value on what you want to do, versus what you think you should do.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to start practicing what religious leaders and health experts have promoted for centuries. Put a “day of rest” on the top of your to-do list this week.

Consider this your permission slip.

Question of the day: Do you believe in the rejuvenating power of rest? Are you a recovering busy-ness addict. too? Share your comments & insights below.

Here’s to taking it easy,

Elise

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Elise Museles believes you should relish your kale… and your chocolate, too. As an attorney-turned-nourishment-expert, recovering perfectionist and founder of Kale & Chocolate, she helps busy women balance their bustling lives with real foods, simple strategies, and sustainable health habits. Through her outrageously nourishing programs and weekly blog posts, Elise teaches women how to fuel body and soul so they look, feel and live better than ever.

Join Elise on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

 

  • Mamaste

    I felt like you were watching me…yes, I suddenly had the urge to go back to my inbox, but resisted, and thanks for that. Rest, indeed helps us be clear.My challenge is to take a WHOLE day and not have anything scheduled. I try but it’s an ongoing process. I think many of us can relate, thanks Elise. ~Mamaste

    • Hi Mamaste,
      So glad this post came to you exactly when you needed it. Even if you cannot designate an entire day to some R & R, just a little “me” time will probably do the trick. Baby steps:).

  • I get my best ideas when I’m at the spa, NOT working at my computer! Yes to Soul days!

    • Carolin, I love that you call those days “Soul Days”. I call certain activities that nourish me my “Soul Greens”.

  • Jules

    Great message to spead to all. I have Sundays for me also, to do with it what I want, whether it is hanging out with someone or just puttering around my house. I have a busy job taking care of people five days a week, Sunday I take care of me and Mondays to because it’s my day off also. It is the most incredible feeling to just get outside and take a walk for an half hour everyday. 23 1/2 hours is left to do whatever, but just taking that 1/2 hour helps me fill my lungs with fresh air, watch nature unfold and just put one foot in front of the other, no stress, just pure relaxation. When I grew up Sundays was always a day of rest, it’s time we all realized exactly what you are sharing in your message today…Great one!

    • Jules,
      It is so true that just a 30 minute walk outside can rejuvenate your mind, body & spirit. It’s definitely easy to forget to take that “me” time but glad to know that you have Sundays as YOUR day. Thank you for sharing your insights to inspire others to understand the value in relaxing!

  • I also struggle with this too at times. Feeling like there’s stuff I could or should be doing. Sometimes I find it relatively easy to let stuff go and relax, but other times I don’t.
    Physically, I know the importance of rest days. As a runner, I KNOW giving your body at least one day a week of no running is important to your long-term health and well-being.
    But mentally… I always feel the pull to “be productive.” To “do” something. I’m still working on the balance, going with the flow, and tuning out that inner critic that tells me I should be “doing” something.

    Sarah
    http://beyouliveyourdream.blogspot.com/2013/05/nothing-can-keep-you-from-success.html

    • Hi Sarah,
      As a runner with a loud inner critic, I hear you! I think we all are a work in progress but learning to go with the flow is key. Thank you, as always, for commenting and sharing!

      • Ahh… a “work in progress.” So true! Thanks for that reminder! I love that phrase too. It reminds me that I’m IN progress…that I don’t have to be “there” RIGHT NOW… as I often tend to think/feel. 🙂

  • Dale Rogerson

    I regularly do it. And if I didn’t have a “can’t-sit-down-and-do-nothing-husband”, I’d do it more often! As it is now, I try to tune him out so I can just BE. I’ve been working on him for the past 18 years and am slowly making headway! He actually sits now and again – just because!

    • Dale, it sounds like you are making some progress with your *busy* husband, albeit slowly. Good for you that you can still take the time for yourself to just BE. It’s hard but when we make it a practice, then it just becomes a natural part of our routine. Thanks for sharing!

  • Teresa

    This one is not a problem for me… It’s refreshing to be able to see what I am good at. I have always taken the time to pamper myself… I enjoy my time to chill and so whatever it is I may want to do at the moment. I also thought it was important for my children to see me value and pamper myself so they would learn to do that as well:-) Thank you for your blog!!! May rest and relaxation be in your future !!!