No one has to remind a cat to get plenty of rest. When kitty feels tired, she drops what she is doing, curls up and relaxes or dozes until her body feels ready to resume activity. Felines are masters at listening to subtle mental and physical cues. In a world where more is better, most humans still have a difficult time jumping off life’s treadmill and getting the rest their bodies require. Rest doesn’t always mean sleep (although sleep is very important); rest means taking both mental and physical breaks from activity.

I have always had the tendency to go-go-go and then fall into an exhaustive zombie state at the end of the day. I sometimes feel like if I don’t get everything done in a day, I am failing in some way. Sure, I usually accomplish a lot in a day, but at what cost? And who is telling me I “have” to check all the items on my to-do list? Me. I’m the one making the rules and I’m the one who gets to make moment-to-moment choices. As a longtime Type A personality, it’s been a challenge for me to loosen up a bit and consciously build downtime into my day. I feel guilty and think, “I could be doing XYZ instead of reading a book or taking a nap.” The truth is, I always feel refreshed, in a better mood and more mentally alert when I’ve chosen to break from the mad rush of the day. I am undoubtedly grateful I made the choice.

Cats don’t even have to think, “Should I stop birdwatching and take a nap?” They feel like they need sleep, so they take the nap. I know humans don’t always have the option to drop what they are doing and snooze, but we do sometimes have the opportunity to take more breaks (even ten minutes of closing one’s eyes makes a difference) and going to bed early if we know we could use the extra rest. Rest is just as important as nutritious food in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

And as an added incentive, I would guess if you were to lie down for a few minutes, it would be a matter of moments before a fuzzy snuggle partner or two joined you. Your rest time may wind up a little longer than expected….

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