It is ironic, that as I come to write this second letter on rest, looking at ‘E’ for energy and exercise………. I find myself seriously depleted of energy. My get up and go has definitely got up and gone this week! However, it certainly sets the scene for this week’s letter.
In the midst of the busyness of life, we often do not stop to think about questions such as ‘What is energy?’, rather we race on with our schedule. We may see advertisements for energy bars or energy drinks and if we are involved in an exercise programme or our work schedule makes regular meals difficult due to the hours we work, we may even consume these. Energy is something that we do not consider, until we find we do not have enough of it!
Energy is defined as the vitality and strength that is required, in order to sustain mental or physical activity. We need it and use it daily, which is why adopting a balanced lifestyle with time for sleep, rest, relaxation, balanced diet, or as the Mars Bar strap line used to say ‘work rest and play’, is important.
The concept of rest was drummed into me from an early age. The phrase, ‘after luncheon rest awhile’ was frequently on my mother’s lips and for years I was sent to a small sitting room with my books after lunch and I was not allowed to emerge from it until I was told to! When I had children I continued this practice and they spent an hour in their rooms after lunch. This was actually for my benefit as well as theirs!! When the hour was up we launched out into the afternoon!
Exercise had a large place on the curriculum of the schools I attended. Hardly a day passed without games, or gym or swimming or dancing. After I left school my lifestyle continued to include a good amount of exercise.
I seldom stopped to consider the importance of exercise, unless the pace of life became particularly swift and stressful. At such times, I discovered that taking time out for exercise, certainly boosted my energy levels and was beneficial to my mind, body and spirit.
The importance of exercise is now well documented and there are a plethora of sports/exercise classes/fitness programmes widely available to suit all ages and stages of life. The key is to find a method that can be sustainable within our individual roles, responsibilities and routines, and then in the words of the Nike strap line, “Just do it”!
Some years ago I set myself the task of going for a walk of praise and thanksgiving everyday before work, during the season of Lent. I did not have any expectations concerning the outcome of this discipline. However as I reflected back on the season of Lent after Easter, I realised that many of the issues I was concerned about had in an amazing way been dealt with!
So, unless a medical condition or illness prevents you, I would encourage you to get up and get going – energy can be recovered and exercise can be re energising.