I’m recently returned from some time away on holiday. It was amazing and I was incredibly fortunate to have the chance to take so much time out of a very busy life. No phone connection, no internet access, no TV and nothing really to do but just be and live in the moment. I haven’t done this in years and years. What I realised from it was just how knackered I was. I slept, slept and slept some more. Afternoon naps, after breakfast naps, early nights, once my body relaxed it was exhausted. This made me realise, understand and fully appreciate why in Chinese medicine there is equal importance placed on work and rest. Work and rest must be balanced, like the Chinese symbol of yin and yang.

Many of us lead lives that are too Yang, we are mentally, physically and emotionally too over stimulated. Always on the go, juggling work, family, social lives, exercise, glued to screens continuously bombarded with messages, tweets, reminders, status updates. A fully packed diary, meetings, social engagements, appointments to keep. This level of busyness is a huge cause of stress and a sure fire way to start to create ill health. If we continue to fill our lives with things that make us busy, our Yang levels stay elevated while our Yin becomes deficient.

Many of us need more Yin in our lives, more down time, more doing nothing time. We need rest, quiet, and relaxation—all Yin activities—to create a healthy balance. When things are out of balance for too long, we start to experience symptoms of stress and illnesses.
Since going away I now understand how important this is for me. I also know that 4 weeks away is not a practical or affordable way to counteract the stress and busyness of life. There needs to be a more daily, affordable and realistic balance, which got me thinking how and where and what.

More rest please…………………………………

1: Give yourself permission to not be busy.Many of us feel we are wasting our time or feel guilty if we rest. But think of down time as daily supplement or vitamin, a total necessity to ensure our health and well being. Down time shouldn’t be an option it should be thought of as a necessity, as important as food and water.

2: Book in down time.Look at what you have on in the day and work out when and where the rest time is going to fit in. If necessary say no to things, try to go to bed early when possible, put down the phone, ipad, turn off the TV.

3: Try to meditate.There is a great website and an app to take you through learning to meditate and it is aimed at people with busy lives who want to fit it in and around this. Well worth a look. http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/

4: Organise weekly restoration time for yourself.Yoga, qi gong, a massage, acupuncture, meditation, taking a bath are all great ways to restore your energy. For yoga in Streatham try http://www.yogaembodied.com/. For yoga in Kennington try http://www.kenningtonosteopaths.co.uk/

4: Get outside more!
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

I know, it’s all easier said than done. But have a think about your life, how busy you are and how this takes its toll and have a rethink; turn off, put your feet up, take some rest.