How do you know when it is the right time for you to rest?
If you are thinking about it, now might be the right time.
Rest is the most important thing in the world [right now].
We are so caught up in a world of doing, of activity, that the concept of rest itself is usually seen as a negative thing. It is often associated with laziness and other negative traits (often by those which need to rest the most). The truth is:
Rest is a key to success.
In the DeRose Method, a pre-classical form of yoga I have been practicing for years, rest is an integral part of the training. Out of a 60 minute session, about 5-10 minutes are devoted to śavāsana, or corpse pose, where we relax the body totally as well as the mind, integrating the benefits of the practice.
In the same way, in a 7 day week, it is highly healthy to have at least one day of rest, if not two.
Even better, as an entrepreneur, planning your holidays ahead, and deciding before your year starts how much time off you want to take, and what you would love to do during this time is a healthy practice that will bring you greater levels of fulfillment, and, paradoxically increase your business results, numbers and success.
How much time off do you want to take next year?
How can you plan and organize your business to fit with that desire?
If you are like most entrepreneurs I know, it is easy to fill up your calendar with work.
The question becomes: How do you make time for rest and holidays?
At an individual level, there are practices you can engage in for rest:
The former French president Jacques Chirac was known for taking naps on a regular basis. John F. Kennedy was known to take two-hour naps daily, during which he forbade anybody to enter his room and disturb him. Churchill, who took an hour nap daily during World War II fighting against the Axis, said in his memoir:
”Nature had not intended mankind to work from 8 in the morning until midnight without the refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.” Winston Churchill in The Gathering Storm
A NASA study demonstrated that pilots who took a 26 minute nap demonstrated a boost in job performance by 34% and 54% improvement in alertness compared to pilots who didn’t nap. Power naps will boost your memory, creativity, stress management, reaction time, morale and optimism.
I have been practicing power naps for years.
Here are 3 key points for an effective power nap:
1) Take a 10-20 minute nap max. That helps you go through the first two phases of sleep, and will avoid having the grogginess if you were to wake up during the third phase of sleep. Set an alarm so you don’t go overboard. Otherwise, you will feel that hangover for the rest of the afternoon.
2) As much as possible, have the nap at a regular hour so that your body gets used to it.
3) If you can’t fall asleep the first time, that’s ok. This is a practice, you can try again the next day.
You can also use the power-nap wherever you are, when you feel it is needed. I have slept at the office back in my employee years, on chairs, on a bench in Thailand, in a park in Iran, on buses, planes, in the suburban train in Paris (the RER), there are no limits.
Next level: pre-program your mind to wake up automatically.
Before you go to take your nap, set a strong intention by asking your subconscious:
“Please wake me up in 20 minutes.”
“Please, wake me up 5 minutes before we get to the Châtelet train station.”
You will be surprised how effective it is. This is a low-tech and inner tech solution. (the opposite of using your smartphone, which is a high-tech and outer tech). It works with waking up in the morning too.
Having one day per week where you wake up at your natural time.
This allows your body to recharge completely it’s batteries, and wake up naturally once it has got enough sleep. That can be on Sunday. If you are an early riser, you will enjoy that moment once a week and it will help you feel motivated on Monday when you need to get up early again.
Taking time to do nothing
Yes, doing nothing is amazing. Sitting on a chair, looking outside your window. Sitting on your couch with a cup of tea. Sitting in your garden, listening to the birds. Lying down and staring at your ceiling. These are moments of deep rest and restoration, where magic happens. You get to enjoy life as it is, and notice the miracle of being alive. You notice how you don’t need to be doing so much, and that the world doesn’t need you. That is a relief. You get to breathe, and to see that all is well. No matter how big your mission is, you don’t count that much, and that is great news. You can do your thing, take your time, and just be.
This can be a challenging one.
And, this can be a window for profound insights and ideas. You can have a notepad ready, for great ideas will come to you when you least expect them.
Get a massage
Massages feel amazing. They allow your tissue to relax, restore, rejuvenate. They allow for your muscles to release all the tension they accumulate through your physical training, as well as your emotional reactions, stress and trauma. Some of the benefits of massages are listed as follows:
Enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow, exercises and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles, helps athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts, improves skin, increases joint flexibility, reduces fatigue, depression and anxiety, enhances sleep, improves energy, concentration and circulation, alleviates low-back pain and improves range of motion, promotes tissue regeneration, reduces scar tissue and stretch marks, pumps oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs which improves circulation, relaxes and softens injured, tired, and overused muscles, releases endorphins, relieves migraine pain (source)
They are great for relaxing. They can also have an effect on your emotional and subtle bodies, even though it might not be the intention of the practitioner. It is important to get clear on what kind of massage you want, as there is a big difference between both. In both cases, I would recommend to ask for a highly skillful professional. I remember a massage from a masseuse in a three star hotel, and I had a lot of appreciation for her work. However, it did not really do the job. What I really needed was a therapeutic massage.
These are some of my favorites. Not only do they release your physical body by releasing your muscles and your connective tissue, but they also have a ripple effect on your emotional body, and more subtle bodies. I found with an amazing therapist-healer using Essenian healing techniques, and there is a variety of other modalities. Explore and enjoy !
Vegging out watching a movie
That can be an amazing time. If you are a high performer, this can be a moment of deep insight too. Movies can speak to you, and vegging out is sometimes the thing you need the most. I still remember three years back, a vegging time when I watched this episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (S06E03), featuring the magical Jim Carrey in a 1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400 driven by Jerry Seinfeld.
I was back from India, and immersing myself into this highly materialistic world of fame and apparent superficiality was what I needed the most. I was so high on spirituality and depth that a bit of normality and ridiculousness was great medicine.
Ken Wilber speaks about this too, when he describes some vacation he took with his partner at the time:
“[…] since both Marci and I spend our days studying depth, we want, as a change of pace, something utterly superficial, glitzy, shiny and vapid.
No question about it. We’re on our way to South Beach, Miami. […]
In our real lives South Beach is everything we don’t want, and less. Which is to say, it’s perfect.”
Ken Wilber, One Taste, p. 366
Time with Family and Friends
Spending time with your family, friends, and doing normal things is what you might secretly be craving. That is the right time to be enjoying your life, instead of moving on to the next goal and the next phase. Otherwise, it might leave you feeling like a mouse on a treadmill. That is sometimes how I can feel, with my desire to spend my time in San Francisco, France and India. One of the coaches I worked with, the lovely Sudeep Balain said in a coaching session with him:
“My friend, you need to take some time to rest in France a little bit. Otherwise, you are jumping from one friar pan to another.”
Time with family and friends helps to heal and restore. As Jodorowsky says: Family is both a treasure and a trap.
How can you nourish and cherish the treasure?
What can you do when you feel trapped?
Deep nourishment through food
Food is one of my favorite topics. When I was a kid, I told my parents I would do a PhD on the foods of the world. Later, I tried and practiced many types of experiments with food: from experimenting eating many kinds of animals (crocodile, zebra, ostrich in South Africa, frogs, snails in France, crickets, other insects and tarantulas in Cambodia and Thailand), Tim Ferriss’ low-carb/high protein diet, vegetarianism, veganism, fasting (no food for 9 days including 3 days drinking water only), eating superfoods. Today, I am mostly vegan, and feel highly awake in my body. Highly nourishing foods are highly rich in nutrients, as described by Brendan Brazier in Thrive Foods. I noticed that deep nourishment really helps. Deep nourishment helps even more when the meal is shared with other people you love. I eat more when in a social atmosphere than when I am alone, where I feel more like a solo yogi. Nourishing foods can also include small things you usually don’t eat such as sweets and little pleasures.
What are your favorite nourishing foods?
What resting routines work best for you?