Getting your rest and rejuvenation on…….
It’s Saturday and the temperature has hit 103 degrees, the whole family has done the only sensible thing and decamped to the pool. Me, my wife, my brother-in-law, his wife and her sister and the main man Jay-Jay. This is day 2 of our plan of introducing Jay-Jay to the pool and my wife as well. As soon as you get him in the pool he grips hold of you with such strength with both his arms and legs like his life depended on it, which I suppose it does as he can’t swim. After a few hours in the pool operation get Jay Jay in the pool is in full effect, I have been dunking him in the pool with me to get him used to submerging in the water and prying open his legs from their vice like grip to kick paddle. Finally he relaxes and let’s go of whoever he is gripping hold of and starts dunking himself and creating his own swimming moves. He has even inspired my brother law to get in the pool.
This has been a childhood dream of mine to live near a pool, as it turns out same for my wife. We have been down at the pool nearly everyday this week. It’s a huge outdoor pool with a deep section for kids to dive into. There is one lane in the pool for people who want to do laps. I have refused to swim in the lane as it brings up bad memories of swimming in the UK in chlorinated indoor pools, cramped in lanes and squeezing it into your busy work schedule. I’ve made a concerted effort to let go in this pool and connect with my inner child and swam without a care in the world not worrying if there is anyone behind me. Surprisingly this approach has helped me perfect the dreaded butterfly stroke. It turns out when you completely relax and let your core go floppy instead of constantly tensing it to hold your stomach in, your whole body can more easily coordinate the two dolphin kicks and butterfly arm movement. So after ten years of practice I have drastically improved it after two chilled afternoon sessions in the pool and I wasn’t even trying.
It made me take stock of how things come easily when you are relaxed and rejuvenated, something which is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s go-go society and social media crazy connectivity. Over the last 3 weeks I have been trying to relax and rejuvenate and what I have discovered is, switching off is not as easy as it seems. Over the last 18 months I have been in a constant tensed state with big changes taking place in my life. Leaving paid employment to launch my business, moving homes twice, finishing off my MSc and creating my new family with my wife. I was listening to the wellpreneur podcast by Amanda Cook and she raised the point that we live in a constant fight, flight or freeze mode in our daily interactions chasing what matters to us. A close friend of mine coined this as ninja mode. Amanda Cook points out that when in ninja mode we are not using our normal energy tank but instead dipping into our emotional tank, which was meant to help us escape from lions, sabre tooth tigers and other dangerous animals. Using this energy system for too long can have a harmful effect on the body plus it’s not easy refilling the tank.
An ongoing discussion I have with my athletes/performers is how they rest and rejuvenate. Taking time off training to tick off more things from your to do list does little to rejuvenate the soul. As I’m finding out myself really switching off and reconnecting with your inner child and doing things just for fun with no purpose in mind ain’t as easy as it sounds. It actually requires consistent effort. As I watch the kids doing backflips into the pool I realize I should get involved just for kicks. Hmmm but won’t it look strange a grown man dive-bombing into the pool. I decide to join in why not you only live once. I’ve given myself the month of July for rest and rejuvenation to refill my emotional energy tank. I would love to hear how others rest and rejuvenate and how they know when it’s time to take a break.