Restoring Balance Part 3-MicroRest | Episode #90

Aaron McHugh


Build in MicroRest into your day. Begin choosing to pause, for a moment, a second or a few minutes. Stop, come to an idle and catch your breath.

Click to Listen Restoring Balance Part 3-MicroRest

Old yeller
Old yeller

Rest more often

I read an article recently that changed my beliefs about rest. I learned about Susan Butcher, a four-time winner of the infamous suffer-fest endurance dog sledding race across Alaska, the Iditarod. She held the speed record from 1986 to 1992. Prior to her disruption, the legendary Arctic men mushed in twelve-hour shifts. Twelve hours on the sled in the harsh cold followed by twelve hours off to recuperate.

The Iditarod is a dog sled race that takes place every March in Alaska. It is sometimes called the “Last Great Race.” Although the race is over 1150 miles long, The Iditarod trail goes from Anchorage to Nome.

Susan chose a provocative, seemingly cushier plan. She unlocked the secret weapon that crushed her opponents, three hours on followed by three hours of rest. She instituted this sustainable rhythm of work-rest-work-rest in smaller bursts for eleven straight days. She obliterated the course record by resting more frequently.

I’ve been reminding myself that like Susan, resting actually helps me go faster and farther. I now build rest into my weekly rhythm. I’ve become a big fan of naps a couple times a week. Like the legendary Arctic men, the shift that occurred for me was when I stopped believing rest was for the weak. I now believe that regular rest is the secret weapon to sustainable living. Susan changed the race forever and now her methods are adopted as the better strategy to race the Iditarod.

Practical MicroRest habits

Work: Schedule five to fifteen minute meeting blocks on your calendar. Title the meeting “Planning” or “Strategy”. Be proactive by building in moments in your work day that enable you to rest, pause and catch your breath.

Power naps: Take ten to thirty minutes to rest. Turn off your cell phone. Turn on a timer. Put in your headphones and listen to something tranquil. Quiet your mind or fall asleep. Do what’s good for you. I use an iPhone app called White Noise.

Pause on your block: After work, before walking in the door to your family, pull over on your street and pause. Remind yourself of your love and gratitude for your family. Honor the realities of your day, but transition away from your work day and into your family life.

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