May in Music: Savor A Long Stretch In The Sunshine
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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about rest.
I’m not naturally a restful person. I’m a dreamer, schemer, planner, creator, do-er. Even in my baby pictures, I’ve got my eyes wide open and my fists clenched while my twin sis, Megan, is all carefree smiles. I’ve always been wound tightly, though I’ve learned to hide the constant alertness under a laid-back facade. (Thanks for the chill-out lessons, Meg.) But in the past few years, I’ve been learning how real, well-timed and regular rest can help me be more healthy, more present, more productive…and stop having to fake that chilled demeanor.
I started to learn that lesson years ago when I was running ultra-marathons. Resting—otherwise known as walk-breaks—was something almost every ultra-runner planned into their training and racing strategies. Finding a good run-walk rhythm was a sign of strength and eventual success, not weakness. Now, I’m currently a ShiftFit aficionado, and stretching and rest is planned into the program’s workouts and weekly schedules as well. When I’ve skipped the rest days or post-workout stretches, I’ve paid a HUGE soreness tax. I’ve learned to take stretching and rest as seriously as those double-under intervals and never-ending push-ups.
Of course, I should know all about rest already. I’m a practicing Christian (meaning, I’m trying, I really am), and the concept of rest is built into the very foundations of the faith. From the ancient Hebrew practice of setting one day out of every seven to rest (the Sabbath) to Jesus’s consistent personal practice of withdrawing to rejuvenate, I’ve been hearing about rest since I was in toddler Sunday School. But, like I said, I’m pretty high-strung, and it takes a long time for these lessons to sink in.
Sometimes it takes a physical practice to teach me a spiritual truth, so I’m embracing walk breaks, post-workout stretches, rest days and so many naps these days. To celebrate the healing powers of rest, I created a playlist of some of my favorite chill-out tracks, old and new. I hope it helps you take a break, preferably while giving your strong muscles a gentle stretch in the sunshine.