27 September 2015
The Need for Rest
In our ever speeding society, the importance of rest seems to be forgotten more and more. Search "sleep" on TED and you'll find numerous pieces of evidence of the importance of this daily rest, and as many proofs that we are not sleeping enough. But rest isn't only about that. It's about slowing down sometimes, finding time to reflect, look at our own lives, spend time with our loved ones, or simply do nothing and gain a new sense of purpose and meaning.
It was a Christmas holiday, when I realized I didn't want to continue med school after all and gathered the courage to tell my father, who was paying the tuition fees. It was during these months of rest that same year, punctuated by student jobs, waiting for the following school year, that I decided to join Languages major, specialty Japanese, and to work my way into an exchange year in Tokyo.
Fast forward seven years, it was during a special two week holidays, granted by my company where I was a trainee, that I went to my family home and made the decision to simplify my life. It was also during one of these simple and resourcing holidays with my family that I started to reflect upon my life as a whole, beyond closet size and waste reduction matters. This year, it was during a short holiday in the south of France that I decided that my career wasn't limited to my job, and that I could very well be a writer while being a PR manager at my firm. Personal projects aren't incompatible with desk jobs, I decided while sipping Provence rosé by the swimming pool.
Don't worry, you needn't a pool to get good rest. What these life examples tell me, is that beyond a good night sleep and resourcing week-ends, we need rest. Real rest. Why are there sundays and fasts and retreats and such in most religions and philosphies? Because we need to unplug sometimes. From the hassles of daily life, from the stress of work or studies, from the energy draining daily life that keeps us from connecting with ourselves and others.
But, where older religions and philosophies made a point of it, our modern society of productivity and "time is money" and busiest is best tends to make us forget the benefits of rest. A long walk under the golden Autumn sun. A week-end with family members and good food. A week with no appointments or tasks to complete. Who knows what you'll get out of this? More energy, for sure. New questions about your life and purpose, maybe, maybe not. In none of these examples above did I go on holidays for the purpose of self introspection. It just happened as things slowed down around me, as my brain awoke from the energy draining every day life and decided to write a Space Opera.
Of course, summer and its public holidays and slower weeks are a good moment to slow down and take some rest. But what about the colder season? As days grow shorter and energy becomes scarcer, perhaps it is time to slow down, take some rest, and see what happens.