I remember a time when all shops were closed after Saturday 6PM. I remember the days before online shopping, when Sunday meant no spending. I remember doing nothing much and staring into the distance, sometimes for hours on end. I remember sleeping until my body felt rested and revived. I remember picking up a book and reading 250 pages in one go and feeling no rush in doing so. I remember daydreaming. I remember the feeling of being bored. I remember good stuff coming from boredom. Like light bulb moments, creative resolutions to (practical or emotional) problems and whimsical looking crafts.
I’d somehow lost that Sunday feeling. My late twenties were all about building, going and getting things done. I worked long and hard to pursue my dream of becoming a health food writer. I worked long and hard to get my name and face out there. I worked long and hard to improve me, my talents, my abilities and my work. I worked long and hard to help others. I was switched on and connected all the time. My laptop and iPhone had become body parts. I was a perfectionist who’d adopted the belief that to ‘live life to the fullest’ you needed to be, have and do it all. And although this period gave me incredible treasures and brought me near and far, it was by no means a sustainable way of living. It was by no means a keeper.
I know it might sound a bit corny, but becoming a mama changed it all. It made me realize I was outrunning myself. It made me realize I’d lost the balance between doing and simply being. It made me realize that one has a choice, always, to press pause continuously, even when society does not embrace slow living. It made me realize that more did not equal better. I wanted to be again that girl who could lie in a hammock for 2 weeks on end. (Of course, as a mama to a toddler, this has not happened) I wanted to be again that girl who just pottered and tinkered and was pleased and content with little. I wanted to be the girl who had the patience and calm that’s needed to read and finish a book. I wanted to get me back.
I would not describe myself as a religious person, although I respect and honor the ancient wisdom that comes from such traditions. Yet nowadays I do consider my Sundays to be holy and sacred. They are for recovering, melting and lingering. They are pure soul food and self-care. I rest and I recharge. I believe rest has, in these fast times, become one of the most underrated pillars of health and wellbeing. Effort equals success and individual success has become the new God.
Our modern lives are overflowing with impressions, choices, possibilities, demands and responsibilities. These are so omnipresent we feel, at times, absolutely overwhelmed. They are so omnipresent that, if we don’t actively seek stillness and quiet, we won’t get it. Yet it is only in stillness that we find clarity. It is only stillness that allows us to hear our inner voice, our greater desires and needs. And its only when we rest that our body functions are restored and our cells get renewed and revitalized. Rest is not futile. It is a big deal and not something we’d want to skimp on.
How I incorporate this rest is daily life? During weekdays I work but reserve an hour or so for stillness and rest. Saturday is for friends, family and making the home. Sunday is purely for recharging. To do this I keep obligations to a bare minimum. I do not plan dates on Sundays. I do not work on Sundays. I do not instagram or e-mail on Sundays. I do not watch TV on Sundays. I do not go shopping on Sundays. I do not clean the home on Sundays. I do not even reserve time for yoga on Sundays. If I feel like doing it, fine. It’s not a dogma. I allow it, and everything else, to arise spontaneously. There’s no musts, there’s no agenda. Sunday is just a spacious place, where I can be with whatever shows its face. Sometimes this means we, as a family, go out in nature. Sometimes we brunch at a local café. Sometimes we stay in all day and ‘hang’. Sometimes I draw or craft something. Sometimes I nap. I move slow and my mind wanders. We enjoy simple slow meals, prepared together as a family. Often times we end up making the same traditional Sunday meal of wholesome homemade pizza. My Sunday slogan has become ‘Boredom is Bliss’.
The truth of the matter is it need not be Sunday. Your day of rest can be any day. The truth of the matter is you need not copy my doings. You can put your own stamp on it, make it your own. But underneath it all, there’s this bigger truth, one that’s universal. We all need rest. We all need downtime. We all need a break. You’re not lazy or less if you slow down. It is essential. Take it and own it. Below you’ll find some tips to get you started.*
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TIPS FOR (SUNDAY) REST
-Plan your rest. Pick a day when you’ll allow yourself to switch off, unplug and find downtime. Make sure this day is convenient. It works best if it’s always the same day. There’s just something about rhythm and regularity. Bodies, minds and souls thrive on it.
-Don’t plan anything on that day. If you plan you might end up with a day as full of obligations as your regular days. And with MUST DO’S breathing down your neck, it will be more difficult to unwind, recharge and rest.
-Choose to only do things that are slow, soft and spacious.
-Unplugging means unplugging. Move your laptop upstairs, keep it switched off and out of sight. Turn off the internet on your phone.
-Daydreaming, napping and time spend in nature are notorious for bringing forth rest and recovery.
-Remember on Sundays being is more important than doing.
Photos and text (c) (copyright) kyra. at kyra’s kitchen.