So, last week I promised to share the monthly commitment I made to cultivate calm during one of the most hectic times of my life. It involves a uniform of sorts.
You know how super heroes have a special piece of clothing they put on that transforms them from a normal person into someone with super-human powers?
Well, what if you had a special piece of clothing that gave you a super power?
The power to relax.
The power to heal.
What if you had an outfit that signaled - don't mess with me?
An outfit that, most importantly, gave you permission to be still, to be unproductive, to REST.
When I was in medical school I shadowed a doctor who had been practicing for over thirty years. I still have pages and pages of notes I frantically scribbled down while sitting in on her patient visits. Regrettably, most of those clinical pearls have not made it from the notebook into my long-term memory, but one particular gem has become a part of my life, and something I regularly recommend to my own patients. It's beautifully simple yet wonderfully powerful.
Here's how it works. Pick one day a month. It doesn't have to be a Sunday, it can be any day. Ring-fence that day in your calendar and do NOT make any commitments for yourself that day. Get your chores and errands done the day before. Farm the kids out to friends, or let them know you'll all just be relaxing that day. Make whatever preparations you need to so that when you wake up on that glorious morning you can savor the feeling of having nothing to do. No plans, no obligations, no chores.
And then... stay in your pajamas all day. Why? Because as my mentor told her patients "no one expects anything of you when you are in your pajamas, least of all yourself."
Give it a try. Tweak the practice so that it works for you. The awesome part about this tip is that you can do whatever you feel like because they day is completely open. You don't have to stay in your pajamas. Maybe your super hero outfit is something else - yoga pants, swim suit, hiking boots, birthday suit?
The point of this practice is to give yourself permission for one day each month to find stillness. And then wear something that day that reminds you of that commitment.
So, pull out that calendar and find that day. You may have to shift other, less important, activities around, but remember REST is powerful medicine. It's how we refill our tanks, give our bodies time to heal and our minds the space for inspiration. Rest is undervalued in our society, but if we could put the power of rest into a pill it would be considered a miracle drug.
I hope you give this a try! It has been a truly lovely addition to my routine. And, if you seeking a longer period of rest, check out our upcoming retreats, and treat yourself to a whole week of relaxation.