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Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!


Posts Tagged ‘rest’


Saturday, August 14th, 2010

the habit of relaxation is worth cultivatingAs the warm summer sun beats down on the streets of Washington, D.C., I’ve been wondering more and more about why people jog all the time, when they could instead be relaxing in a hammock under a tree with a nice cool glass of lemonade in hand. And recently my work friends and I have been pondering deliciously the idea of taking an afternoon siesta. Wouldn’t life be much easier? Here are some thoughts on the fine art of resting, brought to you by Harold S. Diehl’s book titled Elements of Healthful Living.

For more on the same subject, you might also want to read Wisdom and Beauty in Rest (from 1902). Can you tell I just love this topic?

1942: Rest

Facilities for exercise abound on every hand. Every community has a gymnasium and its playground. Great national organizations, educational institutions, and even governments support athletic programs. But who ever heard of providing a place for rest and relaxation? The very suggestion seems fantastic. Yet how many weary, footsore people are crowded into the business districts of our cities every day? People for whom a few moments of relaxation would give life a different hue. People who need rest, not exercise.

Industries, studying the work records of employees throughout the day, find that efficiency declines toward the latter part of the morning, improves after lunch, and then declines again more rapidly in the afternoon. They find also that accidents are most frequent during the periods of accumulating fatigue; and that 15-minute rest periods in mid-morning and mid-afternoon result in increased efficiency which more than compensates for the time ‘wasted.’

Many individuals have made similar discoveries concerning their own well-being. The most famous surgeon in the world long made it an inviolate rule to have a 15- or 20-minute rest each day after lunch. No matter where he was or how pressed for time, he slipped away for a brief doze and returned refreshed. This practice of relaxation undoubtedly was an important factor in the maintenance of his health and vitality through many years of a strenuous and useful life.

The habit of relaxation is worth cultivating. A few minutes on a davenport or comfortable chair with the eyes closed, the mind at rest, and every muscle relaxed will do much to conserve physical and nervous energy. At first complete relaxation probably can be attained only for a few minutes at a time but this should be increased to at least 10 or 15 minutes once or twice a day.

The time may come when we shall have rest clubs as well as athletic clubs, but not yet. We are still too much inclined to boast of the small amount of rest on which we can get along. We still cling to the mad desire to get everything done in a day. To entice the average American to rest in the daytime one must camouflage the rest with mysterious measures such as light treatments, massage, or sun bathing. Possibly when as a nation we have grown up, we shall learn, as many of the old-world countries have learned, to take life more leisurely, to get a little more out of life as we go along, with a friendly chat and a cup of tea to break the tension of the day.

Source: Diehl, Harold S. Elements of Healthful Living. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1942.
~ pp. 109-110 ~

Wisdom and Beauty in Rest

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

rest often, in the right wayI’ve been a tad bit sick this past week, so have done my share of lounging on the couch and bed with my sweet dog curled up next to me. Although I am back at work now, I’ve still got resting on my mind. Professor B. G. Jefferis seems quite the expert on this topic; here’s a quote from his Household Guide. Go forth, good people, and rest!

1902: Wisdom and Beauty in Rest

Good Health. ~ In these days of ten-minute-a-day reading, or half-hour studying societies for improving the mind, how many women make it a point to spend certain ‘minutes’ in rest to improve their nerves and their beauty? Good health is of vastly more importance than intellectuality, for of what comfort to its possessor, or to any one else, is the most brilliant mind which lives in a weary or nervous body? Sheer weariness causes more trouble in the world than it ever gets blamed for. A rested person, other things being right, is a pleasant one; while a tired person, under whatever advantageous circumstances, is almost sure to be cross. Many a family wrangle has started from a few sharp words caused by overstrained nerves.

Personal Appearance. ~ It is natural ~ and perfectly right ~ for a woman always to consider her personal appearance of great importance. That fact should cause the subject of rest to find favor, as those who are always a little overtired never look well. Their faces assure a worried, frowning expression, and wrinkles, gray hairs, dull eyes and sallow complexion follow in natural succession.

The Best Rest. ~ Would you keep your fresh complexion, and plumpness, and bright eyes? Then rest! Rest often, and rest in the right way. Do not insist that change of occupation is rest. There is no greater delusion. It is nothing of the kind. It simply varies the kind of fatigue ~ adds another different in location. The best rest, the only real rest, is found in a recumbent position. No one can stand or sit without holding comparatively taut some muscles, and the tension tires them and the nerves by sympathy. To rest, lie down on something entirely comfortable, and relax every nerve and muscle as much as possible. This is not altogether easy to do at first, but ‘practice makes perfect.’ The rest of it is wonderful ~ in fact, the whole secret of rest lies in the one word: relaxation. Notice a baby’s or an animal’s complete relaxation while it sleeps. Five minutes at a time several times a day ~ and more if possible ~ of such rest will certainly add to length of life and happiness.

False Economy. ~ Many people think that they cannot afford to lie down in the daytime, or if they do that they must improve the time by reading. It is a false idea of an economy of time. Neither the reading nor the resting is well done; and so the time spent is practically wasted. But to take little rests ~ lying down ~ does not waste time; it is time invested in a way that pays big dividends.

Source: Jefferis, Prof. B. G. The Household Guide, or Domestic Cyclopedia. Atlanta, Ga.: J. L. Nichols & Co., 1902.
~ pp. 49 ~