Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Holiday Weekend Recovery

Memorial Day fun! #fbImage by K. Todd Storch via Flickr

It's a Tuesday morning that feels like a Monday morning.

It's the aftermath of something wonderful: the extended Memorial Day weekend. Most people I know packed as much flag-waving, barbeque-eating, beer-drinking, and all-out week-ending as was humanly possible. Add in your own favorite hypenated pastime: mine this weekend included Law-and-Order-marathon-watching and week-ahead-meal-preparation. Yours might be bike-riding, game-playing, kid-enjoying, tube-floating, wedding-attending, house-cleaning, or mega-shopping. You get the idea. When we have a long weekend, we do it up BIG. And today, Tuesday morning, for some of us, feels like -- a HANGOVER.

I watched the Twitter stream for awhile this morning, as "Memorial Day" was still a trending topic. One person, @chadwicknorris, said

It's almost 10 am and I'm still trying to get motivated. I call it "The Memorial Day Weekend effect".

We leave work, feeling exhausted, and eagerly anticipating the extended weekend. We return to work, stil exhausted. What's wrong with this picture? Why do we do this to ourselves?

I suspect that one aspect is an almost universal and unconscious belief that we "should" be like the Energizer Bunny. "He keeps going, and going, and going. . ." We expect nothing less of ourselves. Our idealization of heroes has become pathological: we revere the person who is least like, well, a person. At least superheroes have superpowers! We expect ourselves, without superpowers, to work relentlessly at peak performance, requiring nothing in the way of rest or routine maintenance. We are no longer satisfied with being "superhuman." We now aspire to be like a super machine. And, when or if we are injured, we see no alternative but the scrap-heap. The imperfect machine gets traded for an upgrade. No wonder we are terrified to stop, even for a moment.

We kill the pain with more activity, more relentlessness. We can't tell when we've had enough. Hell, we'll never admit we've had enough. That's the formula for a hangover.

The best antidote here is an ounce of prevention. Season the recipe of your life with some good, old-fashioned PLAY. Play is the ingredient that refreshes, renews, and re-energizes your life and your perspective. Re-discovering your ability to play can be the key to finding a more creative, innovative, imaginative, resiliant YOU. Most people have forgotten how to be playful.

The Feldenkrais Method can re-connect you with your innate abilities to move, sense, think, feel, and PLAY. Remember those long summer days as a kid, when you happily lost track of time, engrossed in whatever you had discovered? Like that. During a one-hour Awareness Through Movement lesson, your curiosity is tickled. You are invited to explore and experiment. How will it turn out? We don't know. But we know you will feel safe and comfortable during the process. And we know you will feel DIFFERENT afterwards. People take this playful stance back to work with them, back home to their families, back into their daily activities. The fresh approach, the awareness, the courage to play helps them to reap dividends in the present moment as well as the future.

Stuart Brown, MD, is one of the leading researchers on the neuroscience of play. He says that the opposite of play is not work, but rather, depression. He argues that work at its best can FEEL like play: absorbing, enlivening, experimental, improvisatory, satisfying, time-expanding fun! Play has many beneficial after-effects, unlike the hangover of the Memorial Day Effect. You are in the present moment, happy to be where you are, and refreshed for the day's tasks.

It's summertime! Come and play with us!

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