- By Luke Sparrow, Movement Coach and Remedial Massage Therapist
“I want to be stronger, get fitter, faster, feel less tired, have more energy, be in less pain …” sound familiar?
As a Movement Coach and Remedial Massage Therapist I hear these request regularly. The first thing that I say to my clients when they ask me such questions is, what do you mean by that? Almost all of them draw a blank, because if they knew, they wouldn't be asking in the first place.
As crucial as moving and improving the body is, in my experience, I have never been asked the one question that we should all be asking ourselves and that is, how do I rest?
STRESS COMES IN MANY FORMS
Whether you're training for a marathon, hit the gym a few times a week, climb mountains on the weekend, have a demanding job or lifestyle the one thing all of these have in common is stress!
STRESS IS NOT ALL THAT BAD
Stress is a word that has received a lot of insult in recent years but it is a very important part of a physiology. Stress (in any form) tells the body that it needs to be stronger and more resilient. It is this ability to adapt to the stresses in our environment that makes us the dominant species that we are. However for the body to make these adaptations it needs REST. All the intense strength training, sweat dripping boot camp classes and grueling runs are a big fat waste of time if you don't provide your body with the necessary rest it requires.
REST, WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS
So what the hell is rest? Firstly rest is subjective, I could write a whole article to try to convince you that something like meditation is incredible for rest and recovery, but if it's just not your thing then it's probably not going to be very effective in achieving the desired results (but seriously, meditation, wow!). Rest is that feeling you get when you can just let go and there is nothing, at least for the next moment or so, that you have to, want to or need to do. The result is a relieving blissful sigh that makes you melt inside just a little bit and nothing, it seems, could possibly bother you in the slightest.
Now ask yourself when is the last time you felt this feeling? If you know when and what it was that made you feel this way, perfect you now have a rest and relaxation practice. If you are struggling to remember the last time you felt like this, don't stress, you're not alone and there are many ways to find that feeling.
WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT
Remember, what relaxes and helps us achieve a resting state is different for all of us. For some it's after a walk, others a good chat with a friend or a float and a massage (or, floatage as we like to call it at CITY CAVE), some, it's meditation or just simply stopping for a second to do absolutely nothing. My advice to all rest seekers is to have an open mind and try lots of different things. However, there are two things that you must do:
1. SCHEDULE YOU REST: In our busy stressful lives, just like any other important part of your lifestyle, rest needs to be scheduled. You have the power to make a conscious choice to have time for yourself.
2. BE CONSISTENT: However you rest, keep it consistent. Just like you exercise your body, resting requires practice. If you knew how to do it then you wouldn't have drawn a blank on my previous question. But like any new thing start slow. Maybe put aside just a few minutes a day or a few times a week, whatever is manageable for you and increase it slowly.
I hope this helps and I look forward to seeing you in City Cave Paddington for a relaxing massage before or after your float.
If you have any more questions feel free to book a consultation with me.