haven

MY SAFE HAVEN

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Life is so busy turning everyone from coal to gold that there is always so much drama, activity, struggle and commotion in the air. In that case most of us just want to take some time out and just breathe. Speaking from experience as a family member, a student and an employee I can honestly tell you that there is sometimes so much pressure in one day that I hit the brink of a nervous breakdown.

I need to run an errand for a family member, handle an assignment before it’s due, attend a church meeting and still accomplish my to-do-list at work. Every single day. It is such a repetitive cycle and the only way to cope … is to take a time out.

I love well-done balconies and gazebos. They are just my thing. The thought of a shaded gazebo or a canopied balcony with potted plants, flowers, sometimes a comfortable hammock with puffy pillows to rest my head and limbs on and catch up on my reading or those power naps …that is just my thing.

The main reason why I love them is that they are like a little piece of heaven wherever you are. In a busy city, along a noisy street, upcountry, in the suburbs …wherever you are. As long as you have a shaded gazebo or a canopied balcony …that is everything you need to make your safe haven. Somewhere to run to from the pressure of your roles, somewhere to escape to and be your absolute self without fearing that it will be used against you. Somewhere to reconnect with the root of your being and spirit, somewhere to recharge and rejuvenate, pick up more energy that will fuel you in tackling the next day and more to come.

Rest is good. More than just good, it is important. For the mind to function efficiently and effectively it needs to be in a calm environment, with a constant supply of fresh air and a peaceful aura. That way oxygen supply to the brain is increased and the chemicals responsible for various functions in the body are released. Mental fatigue can be every bit as detrimental as physical fatigue and taking a rest day helps to recharge the psyche.

During periods of heavy activity, our immune systems are constantly activating to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your immune system can’t catch up to all the repairs your body needs …and automatically that leads to injuries. You need to reach that space in your life where you can comfortably take a long glass of cold juice, put on your sunglasses, climb on that hammock under the gazebo or canopied balcony and just give your system a chance to take stock.

How? When? You may ask.

Just like setting your daily steps goals, set your rest goals. Plot out a schedule and pick your weekly rest days; one or two days where you limit your activity to allow your body and muscles to recover. If you’re a huge step-count achiever, give yourself a day where you limit even your walking to a minimum limit. Put your legs up on a pillow and just give them a chance to get a haemoglobin rush.

Of course sleep is so important to your general rest and well-being, so use a tracer to improve your quality and amount of sleep.

Something else I have learnt in workout days that may be of some help is that it takes your body almost a fortnight of non-activity before you start losing a noticeable amount of your progress or performance level. So don’t think that taking a day or two off from training will set you back all that hard work you’ve put in.

Living on this side of the Sahara, makes us the kind of people that rarely get attracted to rest. Every minute we have to spare could be channelled into making one more penny. That minute we could spare to take that breather, could also go into raising our living standards a notch higher. I’d like to challenge us to change as far as that mind-set is concerned. We are human, we run on blood, not gasoline. We can’t go to a gas station and refuel. We have to eat well, sleep well and most importantly, rest well.

So yes. That shaded beautiful gazebo overlooking the garden, that breath-taking canopied balcony that gives me a clear view of the whole city, the potted plants that give me a hint of what heaven looks and feels like … I will pick that once every week. My run-to-place. My safe haven.

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