And it is Monday, once again.
As we enter the second week of these 30 Days of Rest, we will examine what our body does during Stage 2 of our sleep cycle.
What happens in Stage 2?
“When we enter stage 2 sleep, our eye movements stop and our brain waves become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles. We spend almost 50 percent of our total sleep time in stage 2 sleep” (www.sleepassociation.org).
What are sleep spindles?
“Sleep spindles are associated with refreshment of our ability to learn. This research showed that the greater the number of sleep spindles produced by napping participants, the more they were refreshed to perform on a learning task. Further, the brain areas most involved were the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. These are areas that are critical for learning.The implications of this research are significant. For example, getting too little sleep and cutting off a portion of spindle activity may result in decreased ability to learn” (www.psychologytoday.com).
Ahh…refreshment of our ability to learn. Yes, another treasure brought to you by rest.
One of the challenges I want to throw out to you this week is to dig a little deeper into your own definition of work and to learn (from a refreshed place:) how your work meets the needs of your reality.
What is your work?
Last week, I introduced the simple definition of work as what you need to do to live. This could be exchanging your time for money and your money for food, shelter, haircuts, medicine, vehicles, etc. This could be using your time to wash your clothes, clean the kitchen, cook dinner, run errands, and take care of the physical and emotional needs of people in your care. It is the work that must be done on a basic level, our primary work of meeting our essential needs and the needs of those who cannot meet their own.
Essentials are highly neglected in our culture, that is why I am hanging out here another week. Our passion projects and the difference we want to make in our world are important. But, first things first. You know, the whole secure your own mask idea? Check in with your basic needs, your intimate relationships. Are the people in your home, including you, getting what they need?
Repairing what you already own
Maintaining what you already own
When we have our needs met at a basic level, we are able to learn and we are able to contribute. We don’t even have to try.
This might be a good time to talk about stress vs. hard work. We often confuse stress and work. Let’s untangle these two ideas.
Stress comes from trying to work when we don’t understand the expectations or we don’t have access to the resources we need to accomplish the work. Stress is trying to work when we don’t have our essentials. Stress uses us up physically and emotionally, but it doesn’t move our work forward. It might look like we are working, it might even feel like we are working, but this is the kind of work that doesn’t work.
Hard work is actually hard work. The difference is, when we are working hard we are not bouncing around expending energy unproductively. We engage hard work with clarity and focus. Hard work is knowing what we have to do and having the capacity to do it because we have (or know how to get) the resources we need. Hard work pays off. We are able to care for ourselves and others as a result of it.
Doing the work of getting your basic needs met (which is work in itself) sets up the foundation for us to be capable of hard work and to share the fruit of that hard work with others.
When is the last time you felt stress?
What resources would have helped transform your stress into productive work?
What essentials do you need to tend to today?