I believe I have mentioned in the past that I have been doing relaxation exercises with my high school classes each day this year. Today I selected an exercise from the book Five Good Minutes in Your Body: 100 Mindful… By Jeffrey Brantley which was called “Permission to Stop.” The basic idea was that just as momentum keeps a ball rolling once it is started, once we are running (physically or emotionally) it is not at all easy to get stopped in order to care for ourselves.
This is a particularly apt time of year to be looking at momentum and rest. As the days darken we run into the other side of momentum. Caught up in the “rat race” of shopping, entertaining, celebrating, wrapping, baking, etc. we are inclined to keep going long after even we are aware that we are exhausted! Lying in bed at night, bodies at rest, our brains take over and run through all the things we still need to get done. On the flip side of momentum, objects at rest remain at rest. Once sitting down after supper it becomes a challenge to get up and drag ourselves to meetings and activities, no matter how much we will enjoy them after we get there.
So, when you feel exhausted and recognize it give yourself permission to stop. Sit down and just be still. Breathe deeply and pay attention to sensations in your body. Do you still feel motion inside you? Settle and breathe until it finally stops. When you feel glued down, remind yourself of the reward of the coming activity. The trick, which I have yet to perfect myself, is balance. So fight the power of momentum and let balance carry you through the Christmas season.