Do you take rest seriously?
English chemist Rosalind Franklin developed the methods that led to the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA. Rosalind Franklin was also an avid mountaineer, one of the best female climbers of her time, who walked 25 miles each day. Author of Rest and researcher Alex Soojung-Kim Pang asserts that Franklin's interests in science and climbing are complementary. Soojung-Kim defines rest, not as Netflix and chilling, but a serious hobby that gets you out of the office and allows you to recover from intense work. Your hobby should ideally offer some of the same satisfactions as work–mathematicians are often drawn to rock climbing as it involves problem solving–in a very different environment, usually one that's physically challenging. Now, during the pandemic, is an ideal time to think about how you can become more flexible in how you work and play. This week at The 5-Minute Recharge, we'd like you to take a few minutes to think about how you can take rest seriously. ONE ZADIE QUOTE “There is no great difference between novels and banana bread. They are both just something to do.” – Zadie Smith, from Intimations: Six Essays
– Married Delta pilots Joe and Margrit Fahan flew together into retirement this week. Joe had these parting words of wisdom: “The plane you fly is gonna be cool, but it's the experiences you have on layovers, the places you go, the people you meet and the friends you make that makes all the difference in the world.” THREE DEEPLY PLAYFUL IDEAS #1 A THERAPEUTIC GARDEN Did you know that while toilet paper was flying off the shelves in March demand for seeds was similarly skyrocketing? Would-be British gardeners were even mining tomatoes and squash from supermarkets for their seeds so that they could indulge in a favourite pastime. People gravitate to gardening during difficult economic times, but there's something more fundamental going on here than producing a few extra vegetables. Tending a patch of soil and watching it transform not only feeds our bodies, but also our need to feel that our careful tending can have results, even when the rest of the world is chaotic and beyond our ability to cultivate change. As your gardens bloom, so do you, your garden promising a future of replenishment and possibility. “Many people, when faced with their own mortality or that of their loved ones, become more attuned to the natural world. This is evidence not just of a garden's power to distract and inspire, but of its power to console.” – Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker #2 THE SPEED CUBERS Every two years, the best speed (Rubik's) cubers from around the world gather to compete at the world championships. Australian Feliks Zemdegs is considered one of the greatest cubers of all time, having solved the glamour event of cubing–the 3 by 3 version of the puzzle–in 4.22 seconds. Max Park is his main challenger, an American with autism whose parents first put a cube in his hands to improve his fine motor skills, but soon discovered cubing also improved his emotional and interpersonal dexterity. The friendship between the two young men is explored in the wonderful Netflix documentary The Speed Cubers that gives us a window into how interests, however niche, can provide meaning, purpose, and, most importantly, community. “Cubing initially can feel antisocial–you do it alone, no one understands you. Then you come to a competition and suddenly there are 800 people just like you.” – Kit Clement, executive director CubingUSA #3 POOL YOUR TALENTS The moment pandemic restrictions eased at midnight on May 18, opening Reykjavik's public pools for the first time in eight weeks, the crowd that had gathered outside Laugardalslaug, the city's largest swimming pool, celebrated. Every Icelandic town has a pool, often outdoors, that is open year-round, combining nature, exercise, and connection in the perfect wellness trifecta. Pools are focal points of the community that everybody uses, from school children taking swimming lessons to the elderly attending water aerobics classes. All walks of life join together semi-naked in pools that strip away the trappings of wealth and class. Covid-19 created a pent up demand for swimming, but it was another pandemic that turned Iceland into and island of pools. Following the Spanish flu of 1918, the rising price of coal and oil encouraged Iceland, a volcanic island, to switch to geothermal energy that made heating pools affordable. Being an island nation that in 1918 was newly independent from Denmark turned swimming into an essential part of a proud Icelandic identity. Having a healthy hobby baked into a culture means that everybody believes in its benefits and is encouraged to make time to indulge in revitalizing rest that can be truly transformative... “Once we've stripped off those layers of clothing and entered the hot tub, we become chatty extroverts.” – Filmmaker Jón Karl Helgason *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. These Uber Drivers are Stressed. Archery Soothes Them. - The New York Times (Another great example of a cultural hobby–from Bhutan–that combines the outdoors, exercise and community.) 2. The lock-down life-changers - The Guardian (Six people on their 2020 transformations, from giving up gambling to getting fit.) 3. Sneak In Some Exercise - The New York Times (When you Zoom nobody has to know you're doing a wall sit.) 4. The Importance of Reflection - Maria Konnikova, YouTube (Time: 5 minutes) (Psychologist, author, and champion poker player Maria Konnikova talks about the importance of finding pockets of time to check in with yourself.) 5. Overcoming the Success Addiction - The Art of Happiness Podcast (Time: 56 minutes) (Would you rather be special or happy?) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE YOUR HOBBY HORSES Hopefully this week's edition of The 5-Minute Recharge has inspired you to dig in the garden, order a Rubik's cube, or go for a physically-distanced dip in a community pool. Your challenge is simply to write down five potential hobbies to explore, or if you prefer a loftier word, interests. If you're drawing a blank, think back to your childhood. Did you enjoy climbing trees? Rock climbing could be the adult version. Play-Doh becomes pottery. Board games become chess or bridge. You get the idea... 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Now select a hobby from your list and take one action to move you a step toward active recharging. “Many of the most restorative kinds of rest are actually active.” – Alex Soojung-Kim The last word, this week in visual form, goes to Michelle S. from Nova Scotia who won a copy of The 5-Minute Recharge with this mesmerizing home holiday photo.
Please send your comments, suggestions, hobbies, and reading/listening/viewing recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.