We need activity, so we move. We need rest, so we sleep. The ultimate freedom in life is finding activity in rest and rest in activity. Yes, this is possible!
In our society, we are taught to constantly be active…one more meeting, one more client, one more set at the gym, one more phone call. We push ourselves to our limits and for what?
The Golden Carrot:
In our culture, we are running towards this invisible carrot (donut if that fits better). We are taught young that this carrot exists and we need to have our schedules filled with activity in order to get it.
So we fill our schedules with activity. We make sure we push ourselves to our limits with the promise that the golden carrot is just within our reach.
We say, “yes” more than “no.” We over-deliver at work every single time for the promotion. We study and study and study, knowing the more effort we put in, the more likely we are to get the “A.”
Some colleges actually have taken the “A” away replacing it with Pail/Fail grades. Perfectionist students were initially outraged…they wanted that golden carrot and weren’t going to settle for anything subpar.
There are many messages we hear that imply being in activity mode is the only way to achieve.
Here are some examples…
- “Only the strong survive”
- “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
- “Study hard!”
- “Push yourself for results!”
Pushing yourself is not the way. The more active we are without rest, the more research shows our immune systems are compromised, we age quicker, our brains run slower and most of all…we are not happy in a constant state of motion.
Let’s take this quote and relate it to the use of our mind and body in activity and in rest.
Activity in Rest:
Yes, you are active in rest. Your brain is still thinking, your muscles are recovering and your blood is still flowing.
Sometimes the best ideas come from your body resting. Did you ever have an idea come to mind while driving, in the shower, or meditating? That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
Those moments where you aren’t in an activity that pushes you, where you are resting is when the mind is better able to process information. That’s why ideas come to you during those times.
Activity in rest is when you can rest your body while giving your mind a chance to be active and process information.
Rest in Activity:
People who can meditate understand this. They know that meditation doesn’t always look like someone sitting with the legs crossed, completely still and silent.
Rest in activity is when your body can remain active while your mind is at rest. This means you can “clear your thoughts” and focus on being active…think “zoning out” while taking a walk or focusing on your breathing while doing yoga. It’s finding a way to rest your mind while your body is being active.
So is there a balance between rest in activity and activity in rest? Yes, there is! Most of the time we are balancing ourselves naturally when we zone out in a meeting or having trouble sleeping because our body wants to move.
The key is to know what you need and be able to balance out what those needs are throughout your day.
Make time to move, time to rest, and time to think part of your daily routine.
If you’ve been working your mind and body at the same time, for a long period of time that is why you are probably drained and exhausted at the end of the day. This was once me where I believed hustle would push me farther, now I’m trading the hustle for balance. Read my post about trading the hustle for getting cozy here.
Be kind to yourself. Give your mind a rest while your body is active and your body a rest when your mind is active from time to time when you can.
Success isn’t pushing yourself for that carrot after all…it’s listening to your mind and body to find positive energy in both rest and activity, together in balance.