Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Benefits of Rest

Fiona has an inherent comprehension of the value of rest.
I came down with a cold this week.  A bad one that lingered in my head for several days and made me head achy, emotional,  and irritable.  You would think that after kicking cancer's ass I could handle the common cold. But my mood was as crappy as the dreary weather outside.  I was crabby with my lack of energy, I was crabby that I never feel like I can give my best to my yoga clients when I can't even breathe through my own practice, and I was darn crabby with my family who still expect all of the same things out of me when I am sick. And, have the nerve to ask me why I am so crabby.  I'll be the first to admit I haven't handled this one with much grace.

Bottom line is that getting sick really puts the brakes on my carefully planned life. Yet, the irony is that I'm quite sure I got sick pushing myself to be prepared for our annual Easter party.  There were several nights of late night egg stuffing and party prep stress resulting in a body that did not get much rest.

I search out a healthy life in all areas except one.  In my world rest doesn’t usually get the credit it deserves.  It is underrated.  I know of the relationship between sleep and the immune response; please just tell that to my control freak personality.

The body doesn’t do its healing in action mode. It requires a break to drop into healing mode and create those t-lymphocytes that aid the immune system. According to Diwakar Balachandran, MD, director of the Sleep Center at the University of Texas“A lot of studies show our T-cells go down if we are sleep deprived,” Balachandran says. “And inflammatory cytokines go up. ... This could potentially lead to the greater risk of developing a cold or flu.”

So why do I  resist this rest? Why the push to get more and more done? I blame it on two things, my personality and my generation.  I mentioned before that I was somewhat of a control freak.  I used to consider that a positive character trait.  Now, I'm not so sure.  In addition we  live in a society that socially rewards the overachiever.  We give credit to those who accomplish at superhuman speed.  And what falls by the

So as I sit here, Kleenex box in hand, I crave the balance in my life that only exists in a healthy and energetic body.  Balance to be the best woman and mother I can be, which requires one thing more than anything else at this point, the acceptance that it is going to take an extra week to get back on track.  This mama needs rest.

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