I don’t think of wellness as requiring a lot of new insights or cutting-edge science. The basics are, well, basic.
Remembering them and honoring them—that’s the trick, along with understanding that we’re not exceptions to basic human physiology or psychology.
Rest is probably the most basic part of wellness. The biggest no-brainer. If our bodies, brains, or souls are tired, we should rest if we can. If our lifestyle, year after year, pushes us to function while fatigued in our body, our brain, or our soul, we should question our lifestyle if we value our own wellbeing.
The life of working really hard and being stressed and unhappy so that we can afford a vacation that we desperately need because our life is miserable ... doesn’t make any sense. It’s obvious. It’s basic.
But the hammer meets the nail when we take what we know out into the world. We start to forget. The basics are covered up again and again—so they need to be revealed again and again.
I have a picture on my wall that I like because, for me, it’s dense with layers of meaning. (It’s the same picture that accompanies this note.) On the one hand, it makes me happy to look at. I’ve managed to figure out a way to work while getting fresh air and keeping an eye on my napping two-month-old. My other daughter, based on the look on her face, is entertained by my setup. It’s a bright summer day, birds are singing, and I’m with my kids.
Another way to look at the picture is that it’s a bright summer day, birds are singing, my kids are literally right next to me, and I have my computer on. I imagine that after the picture was snapped, I went right back to looking at the screen. It’s tragic.
Of course, there’s no right way to see the photograph, just like there’s no right way to figure out how much to work or how busy to be. The goal is to be aware and intentional. Our story on rest (p. 38) is meant to help you reconnect with rest and remember its importance in your life, whatever you decide that might be, while also giving you some powerful tools to rest more effectively.
If you decide to be more committed to rest, you’ll probably need to set some boundaries. Our feature interview with Nedra Glover Tawwab (p. 46) gives you some ideas for how to do so.
Add in Myra Goodman’s column on play (p. 78) and you have a great triumvirate of reminders. Rest. Set boundaries. And play. Sounds great, doesn’t it?