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Getting Real Rest

A while back I had a long weekend unencumbered by any work. I had friday off for my monthly day of prayer and sabbath, nothing to do for the job that weekend, and no freelance projects on my plate.

It was glorious to have that much free time! I turned off my alarm and slept in (till 7:00am each day!), spent hours reading (Semper Virilis, Rise of Superman), worked on evening out my farmer’s tan (hooray Vitamin D!), took some hot and cold baths, picked up fresh, local produce at the farmer’s market, cooked some nice meals, spent some serious time in prayer and reflection… and afterwards I was so refreshed and ready to take on the work week with renewed enthusiasm and energy!

That weekend was very restorative for me. I just plain felt good physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Reflecting on that weekend this morning, while in the middle of a work blitz with very little time off, I’m reminded of the importance of real rest and restoration. Evenings off watching TV or playing video games isn’t enough. Heck, a single Saturday off may not be enough if you’ve been working hard for an extended period of time (it hasn’t been for me!).

It’s important to actually work at getting rest. A lazy day is just a lazy day; setting aside the time to do things that actually feed into your heart, soul, mind, & body pays dividends in your day to day life.

It's been my experience that doing things to rest & restore is much more effective rest than just lazing around doing nothing.

I’d strongly encourage y’all to have a “get myself back to center” weekend every once in a while. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; other than a few errands, I stayed at home all weekend. I am an introvert, so having an extended period of alone time is actually pretty necessary for me, but even if you’re not a semi-shut-in like I am, a down-time weekend (preferably at least 3 days) can really benefit your overall well-being. And if you are a big-time extrovert, maybe throwing a weekend cook out is exactly what you need to get the same restorative effect.

So find a weekend where you can take off a friday and do some or all of the following:

Ignore work (but don’t neglect it!).

Take extended time to read something that encourages, inspires, or informs you.

Go to bed early and sleep late multiple days in a row.

Spend time outdoors.

cook a healthy meal and slow down to savor it when you eat it; don’t just wolf it down.

actually listen to some great music (don’t just have it on as background noise)

watch an excellent movie or TV show

take a relaxing hot bath (with epsom salt!), or an invigorating ice bath (I did both!)

tackle a home project that will give you a sense of accomplishment

do a fun, unstructured workout outdoors (I did burpee intervals, jumprope intervals, and some supersets of pull-ups and hanging leg lifts)

take your dog to the park

go for a long walk in your neighborhood

spend more time than you normally do in prayer, meditation, or reflection

My one caution would be this: don’t go hog-wild and throw your discipline out the window with food & drink. Don’t make it a binge weekend, especially if you’re already on a good path to health & fitness. A drink or two? Adding dessert to dinner? Pancakes for breakfast one day? Sure. But don’t consume so much junk that your body has to work overtime to recover. Nursing a hangover or feeling lethargic from a huge unhealthy meal defeats the point of having a restorative weekend.

So go to your calendar, and block off a 3+ day weekend where you can have a healthy block of unbusyness to restore your mind, spirit, and body.

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The Road to Self-Employment

I’ve been a dreamer my whole life.

I’ve always dreamed about the future, what my career would be an what life would be like, and their core the dreams have always been about making art and being creative. Sometimes the dreams revolved around making music, and sometimes around filmmaking. But always creative, and always collaborative. Additionally, there’s always been a level of freedom and security in my dreams that go beyond a regular 9 to 5 job.

But dreams don’t become reality without work. To build the career and life that I’ve been dreaming of since childhood, it’s time to move from dreaming to building.

Have you ever started strong on a goal or project or dream, only to fizzle out over time? That’s been my history. A huge amount of enthusiasm, commitment, and discipline at the beginning, fading into a resounding meh over time.

Not this time. This time I’m breaking that cycle. I want to help you break your own cycle too.

This blog is going to be about my journey of self-improvement and the road to self-employment. In sharing what I learn along the way, I hope I can inspire you to take your own journey. I hope I can give you practical information that can help you avoid all the mistakes mistakes I’m sure to make along the way.

I’ll be writing about motivation & discipline. It’s really, really easy for me to get lazy. And laziness has a cascade effect in my life. If I slack off in any aspect of my life, everything suffers. That’s what happened to me over the last 6-9 months. I originally started writing this blog post on October 1, 2014. I’m finishing it and finally publishing it in late March 2015, with about 6 months of mostly-wasted time in between.

I’ll be writing about getting myself (back) into shape. Sometimes I’m a very avid fitness & health enthusiast. I’ve definitely let myself go since last summer, though. I gained back all the weight I lost a couple of years ago, and lost all the strength & endurance I built up.

I’ll be writing about what I learn as I research how to market myself, how to find clients, and how to build a production company from scratch. I’ve never really had to market myself, and I’ve never had to seek out clients. 

In writing this blog, I hope I can inspire you to take action and move towards building your dream, whatever that looks like in your life.

So today I’m drawing a line in the sand, publicly. It’s pretty easy to set goals and let them languish when you don’t tell anybody, so today I’m telling everybody. It’s time for me to stop going with the flow and letting life happen to me; it’s time to start building, and not just dreaming.

Please feel free to hit me up on my twitter and instagram accounts (both @jimcshields) and ask me about my progress. Feel free to keep me accountable and give me crap if I’m slacking!

Thanks, y’all.

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