The Lost Practice Of A Rest Day

April Davis

“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” – Benjamin Franklin.

When was the last time you committed yourself to a lazy Sunday? Kicking back in your pj’s with a good movie is not only relaxing, it also works wonders on our health. Our commitments take up a lot of our time, we work, study, exercise, clean, garden and socialise and then we spend our weekends racing around doing errands. Seven days are never enough to get everything done and as such we’ve opted out of having a rest day. The problem with this is, in the midst of our busy lifestyles, we’re the ones that are left suffering because at the end of the day it’s our bodies that will pay the consequences.

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It’s never easy taking a step back from our goals, ambitions, or commitments to say no, I need a day off. It takes a well-adjusted, realised person to understand how essential it is to drop everything and lounge around on the couch. Your life isn’t going anywhere if you sit down for a few hours, but your health just might.

Any physician will tell you that rest is essential for physical health. Any athlete will tell you our bodies need time to repair themselves and regenerate. Even some of mankind’s greatest philosophers would tell us our minds need rest.

Leonardo Da Vinci once said: “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.” And Ovid, the Roman poet, said, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

Our muscles need time to repair themselves so they can strengthen, our minds need time to relax if we want to achieve greatness and our bodies need rest if we want to prevent ourselves from getting run down.

From corporate to political leaders, humanitarians to police officers, successful people know and understand that our bodies are our temples and it’s our responsibility to look after them. Yes we need to eat well, remain physically active, and maintain strong emotional connections but we also need to relax. Everywhere we turn there’s articles and advertisements telling us what we should and shouldn’t be doing. But the simplest thing we can do for our health is the one we all forget.

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Traditionally Sunday is a rest day. To give an example of how easy this is to forget, I’m going to give an outline of my Sunday this week. I woke up early and hit the gym. When I came home I scrubbed the house from top to bottom, then I went outside raked up the leaves and mowed the lawn. Then I came inside, had a shower, and spent the rest of the afternoon working on my blog. Then come Monday I’m back at my work desk working 9-5 for the next five days. This week, and pretty much every week that’s passed for months now, I’ve neglected my rest and despite this being perfectly normal in our society, it doesn’t make it right.

This is why I’m challenging myself to rest every Sunday. To take a step back from my busy lifestyle, forget my chores and my ambitions and just relax. I can’t say I will be able to do it straight away, but I’m sure as hell going to try. So what do you say, will you join me in my pursuit for occasional laziness?

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