Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Recuperation, Rest, and Renewal

Recuperation, for me, is really about the healing aspects of rest and leisure. It's about recreation, play, and simply lying about, doing nothing, as methods of stress management. It's about taking the time to refresh the body and mind.

It's about the idea that we really need to take care of ourselves. We need downtime.

When I was in a political/spiritual community, we adopted the idea of Shabbat--even those of us who weren't Jewish. We really liked the idea, as workers and activists, that we needed a time to just be. While the spiritual aspects of this practice are important, the physical, mental, and emotional healing that occurs around being able to relax and just be, rather than doing all the time, is very important as well. We have to be careful not to burn ourselves out trying to change the world.

Relaxation is one of the main methods of recuperation. While there are some specific methods of relaxation (such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing), just letting go and not giving into the compulsion to do something may be the most important way to do it. (I've heard the expression from meditation teachers: "Don't just do something, sit there.")

In a culture that emphasizes busyness (not to mention fear, tension, and stress), just letting yourself relax and recuperate and renew yourself is an important need.

Resources:
Kathleen Barton, "Stress-Busters: 12 Ways to Renew Yourself"--A short article listing some thoughts on how to recharge yourself
Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People--Covey's seventh habit is what he calls 'Sharpen the Saw' and subtitles: 'Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal'; he discusses physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual renewal and the importance of taking time to do it
Martha Davis, The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook--Step-by-step instructions on techniques for relaxing the body and calming the mind
Jeanne Segal, et al, "Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief"--A good survey of a variety of relaxation methods

Quote of the Day: "Sometimes the cure for restlessness is rest." - Colleen Wainwright

2 comments:

ViolentLove said...

As always, wonderful words of wisdom to share. Thank you.

:)

MoonRaven said...

Thank you! You also have much wisdom that I can learn from.