Are We Truly Resting?

What does rest mean to you? Sleeping in may do it for many. For some people a rest is little more than a coffee break. Executive types may prefer “power holidays.” A driving vacation is the old family stand-by.

   I remember the year that Sunday’s became like any other shopping day in my home province. It happened just in time for the opening of the huge West Edmonton Mall. I remember, because I was working with youth at the time. Because the youth were the ones most likely to have to work on Sundays we lost our only possible day to get together.

  Since that time most of us run at full speed seven days a week, most of the year.

  The “day of rest” was originally Saturday (in Jewish circles), still is Friday (for the Islamic community), and was Sunday for most of the western world. The term used was “Sabbath”, the day of rest God (it is written) took after completing all of creation. The Hebrew word is also used for university professors who take a sabbatical; a year of study away from teaching.

  For many of us the time away/downtime falls around Christmas, New Year’s, Spring Break and/or the summer. For too many of us, this is the only real time to slow down and catch up to ourselves, friends, family, and nature. This, unfortunately, can put excessive expectations on that time.

  I suspect that many of the readers of this magazine who have children at home are more likely to take the family outdoors in the summertime, something that many of us remember with fondness (even if it meant playing ball in an empty lot). Unfortunately, too many children today do not have the great memories of playing outside, checking out the local creek, gardening, and of family (or others) and camping. Many of them spend most of their time with some kind of technology inside. Not much of a rest!

  Being outdoors, especially when the weather is decent, is a great place for me to feel reconnected, to truly rest, catch up on my sleep, and to get away from e-mails, phone calls, household responsibilities, work, and a hectic routine. None of these usual activities are possible when I am camping, cycling, kayaking, hiking, swimming, or travelling! Yeah!

  Some people have figured out how to better pace themselves year-round, to take restful times on a frequent basis. They have more self-discipline than do I!

  What happens to me when I rest? I mean truly rest, not just have a coffee break. I am able to slow down, reflect, connect with nature and others and myself, discover things, do some envisioning about my future, read, celebrate life, and far more. Something amazing happens to my spirit, my outlook, my attitude, and my energy level (after I get over crashing at the start of that time off!). I return refreshed and re-energized.

  May this summer be re-connecting and rest-full for you.


Ian Gartshore is too busy being a local therapist and an energy consultant.