I’ve written about this before… and I will keep writing about it, until I finally get it. We all need rest.
You see, I’m a workaholic. My friends and family who are reading this are saying, “well, yeah…”.
I wasn’t born this way, it’s something I trained myself to be. I was a busy, hard to keep entertained kid. But workaholic? Not so much.
Looking back, I think college is what did it to me. I was taking more than a full load of credits each semester and usually working 2-3 jobs to pay my way through. After several years, it became a habit. Fast forward to today, as an entrepreneur it has only gotten worse!
In addition to this loverly habit I have come to realize that I have forgotten how to rest.
Just recently I was reminded of this fact. I had arranged to be out of the office for the day but through a series of events my travel plans changed and I ended up staying home. I was glad in the end, I needed a day off.
By mid-morning however, I was restless (more than usual), I kept thinking I need to rest and just be but could only think of chores that needed tackling and a to-do list full of things that were weeks old. By end of the day I was thinking, what happened to finding time to rest? Well, a) I kept pushing it further down the to-do-list and b) I couldn’t think of what to do.
How sad is that!?
So, What Is Rest?
Sitting still is hard. It may not be for you but it is for me. Thankfully, I’ve learned to channel my restlessness so it isn’t as annoying to those around me as it used to be.
I even Googled the question! I was able to find snippets and hints here and there but not the fully explained understand I was hoping for. Here are a few descriptions I did find:
- Cease work or movement in order to relax and refresh oneself, or recover strength.
- To break from labor
- To physically recharge
- Absence of motion
- To be calm
- Interval of Calm
Okay, great… but what does that look like on a practical, self-application level? That was not made clear.
Why Do We Need To Rest?
Now this question I get and can answer. It’s something I have actually written about:
We need to recharge: We all need a break. For physical, emotional, and mental self-care we need time to withdraw and recharge from our hectic lives. (Even you, yes you the crazy busy Mommy. You need time to recharge your batteries too!)
We need time to repair: Our bodies need time to repair after an intense workout, we need time to heal after an emotional trauma, and our bodies need time to repair after sickness.
We need a brain break: We are constantly on the go in high gear. We are blasted with information every day and we need time away from it all to stop our swirling, racing thought patterns.
So Why Don’t We Rest?
It’s an addiction. Once you get used to being constantly on the go, the living on adrenaline and the distraction it provides is addicting and hard to break away from.
It’s a competition. We may not always realize it but when you hear the to-do-list of a friend, or their schedule for the coming week, our first thought goes to our list and schedule and compare it. Sometimes we even feel guilty or feel that we are doing something wrong if we are not as busy as they are.
We feel guilty. We are trained to continually live with the switch turned to the on position. When we stop, we feel guilty, and feel like we need to make excuses when we are caught sitting down for a few minutes.
Ways To Rest
In a podcast over at S’more Outdoor, Brett Traudt said “Create a habit of calm behavior”. That caught my attention, that clicked for me and I started asking the question how can I create a habit like that? Here is a short list of things I came up with…
- Read a book
- Watch a movie and knit (this one is for me, I rarely can just sit and watch anything…)
- Go for an easy hike or long walk
- Go work in the yard or garden
- Grab a coffee with a friend
- Prayer and meditation
- Hot bath with essential oils
- Walk the dog
- Pull out your take-a-break kit
- Draw or doodle
- Take a nap
Being constantly on the go causes us to miss out on the small beautiful moments around us and keeps our focus inward. Learning to rest will help us to start to notice our surroundings and start see beyond ourselves again.
Do you know how to rest? In what ways do you rest?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.