The insightful Nicholas Bate gives (one of many) parting shots for the end of 2011:
“There’s an almost delicious fatigue which comes with appropriate physical activity. Five-a-side football after work, chopping wood for the wood-burner high in the Pyrenees, carrying your three-year old high on your shoulders through the shoppers. The activity has its deep rewards and within reason the more you do, the more the body adapts and becomes more adept at the task.
Unfortunately there’s a dark side to fatigue. Mental fatigue. The relentless push of the brain to a place where we require more thinking, more creativity, more focus and more prioritisation. But the brain-the mind-is not a muscle. It needs distinct periods of rest, of reflection, of relaxation to be at it best. If not-like a solider in combat who has simply seen too much- it switches off in order to be able to cope. And then the deeper problems occur.
When we begin to consider goals for a new year, make it a priority: regularly strengthen the body, regularly rest the mind.“