Let me start this by noting that I realize at this point in my life and career, I’m lucky to be able to have some freedoms and control of my schedule that many do not. However, with that in mind, I believe there are things here that can fit into nearly every life and schedule, and that have lasting benefits.
I’m a CEO with 25+ employees on an aggressive growth plan that includes opening a new office on the opposite coast by year’s end. I’m also starting a new venture (a very hip little rooftop bar), founder and giving some direction to Thrive Coworking for Women which is less than a year old, and less than a year ago I completed a $3.3M 15,000 square foot commercial building project. I also serve on two national boards and their accompanying committees and am fully committed to my Vistage CEO peer board.
So I could quite reasonably never find time to rest. Mind, body or soul!
But life is too short. And even if it weren’t, what fun would there be in everything I DO, if I can’t BE. Fatigue, brain and otherwise, is rampant. More than sleep deprived (which many are, that’s another post), real fatigue leaves us feeling like we can’t think clearly, are easily agitated, and that “everything is out of control.” While your to-do list may vary greatly from mine, I don’t have kids to care for any more, I rarely cook, don’t clean my own house, and have an amazing executive admin who cares for all my travel plans – the point is, how can we possibly find time to give it a rest?
What does that mean, exactly?
Resting is simply a planned break. All of nature knows how it goes. Fields, seasons, and animals, they all have breaks to allow for rejuvenation, rebirth, and recharging. Why not us?
I take a day – Thursdays for me – and let some parts of myself rest a little more. This day is focused on my body and what I eat. And because I don’t go to the office on this day, I work differently, and I dress differently. As a result, I can think more clearly, stay more focused, and spend time reading – yep, right in the middle of the day.
Here’s 4 simple ways to give all parts of you some rest.
1. Digestive rest. Once a week, try a soup cleanse. Or fast from meat; cut out dairy or breads; no alcohol. Give your digestive system a rest from what it does on all the other days. For me, I often use Splendid Spoon’s soup cleanse – they send me four containers of organic, lovely thin soups, all plant-based. I heat them up, add some pepper and half eat, half drink out of a big mug. In between I drink Kombucha. In the evening, there’s a heartier bowl, but still all plant-based.
Just the act of giving my body a rest from digesting heavy foods is a unique and wonderful way to recharge. It just feels good.
Partial fasts have been part of many people’s healthy plans for centuries, some tied to religion. And there’s a reason: rest rejuvenates, even your gut.
2. Physical rest. Though I still do my morning power walk, this is not a day for spinning or hot yoga. Once a week, give the big workouts a break. By the evening, you may be a little more tired, so take advantage and go to bed early. Somehow it feels okay because it’s the same day each week. Your body may form the habit and find it craves your rest day and an extra bit of sleep.
3. Rest from the hectic. I love my office – it’s bustling, fun, and super-charged on most days. But on Thursdays, I work at home where I’m alone. I take only critical meetings and in the core hours of the day, I set my Slack to away. I close my inbox, focus on projects, clearing out tasks, writing, or reading. It’s incredibly productive and though I love coming out of the gates on Mondays, Thursdays keep me focused and clear-headed.
4. Be comfortable. Really comfortable. Maybe you’re able to truly be comfortable every day. I’m fairly casual, but I still wear pants (not yoga), nice shoes, jewelry, and the like. For me, a day in yoga pants or sweats, a bandana instead of messing with my hair, flip flops and nothing but moisturizer on my face feels incredibly more comfortable than the usual gear. I think this is why companies tried to do casual Friday (and some still do), but even with that, taking a break from doing hair or makeup, outfit planning, and good shoes feels incredible.
Note – I love that the women at Thrive Coworking get this more than I do on the daily! They tell me that they don’t feel they need to dress to impress, and I LOVE that they have a place where they can be really comfortable every day.
I love how I feel on Thursdays – clean, refreshed, and clear-headed – so much so that I think I’ll keep them forever, and that they will always feel like the very best day of the week. After so many years, I’m convinced of the value of digestive and physical rest, a scheduled break, and truly being comfortable. When it began, it was all about a break from the demands of the office. Now, I’m discovering the true value of giving it a rest and loving the other days even more.