Do you remember the day it happened? The day when you sat down to rest by reading a book, taking a bath, watching a movie, or just chat with a friend… that all of a sudden you felt lazy?
I’m quite sure I’m not the only one that feels this way.
It came on so gradually for me that I don’t remember it magically starting one specific day, but it did happen. Re-learning how to rest and not feel guilty about it is being so incredibly hard for me.
As a kid I couldn’t sit still – literally could not sit still. In restaurants I would climb out of my highchair OVER the tray, in church they would put me in the nursery but when I was too old for that, quiet activities for me to work on but even that didn’t always work. As I got older and understood that I really needed to be quiet, I would bounce my leg or tap a pencil (to everyone’s great delight). Finding something to do that would keep me moving but keep me seated in one spot.
In the midst of all that movement I could find my version of rest when reading a book, that could keep me occupied for hours and hours.
While I don’t know exactly when my view of rest changed from need to feeling guilty about it, I do remember the time period where it all started to change for me – college. To get myself through school I was taking an extra heavy credit load and was usually working 2-3 jobs. Sitting down and resting became a luxury. Through this experience I created a “work-a-holic” and I lost the ability to just sit and be. Reading became meant required text book material or reviewing notes for a test.
Today when I sit down and watch a movie I have to be doing something else. Sorting paperwork, getting my accounting up-to-date, pull out my knitting. (Actually, I learned how to knit so I could sit and do something with my hands that didn’t involve a keyboard!). Even in movie theaters I pity the person sitting next to me as I am constantly shifting, moving, crossing and re-crossing my legs. It is best to give me a bucket of popcorn and a drink to give me something to do.
One of my big goals this year is to retrain my brain and rethink what it means to rest, to be still and to pause. In order to become who I want to be, in order to really quiet myself intentionally so I can hear, I have some changes to make in my mindset and in the expectations I have of me.
Just like you my to-do-list is so long that I will never get it done, so here are some changes I am working on:
- Giving myself grace. Knowing that my list is uber long and that realistically it will never be done, as soon as I cross of a couple things 10 more will take their place on the list.
- Stopping. I’m taking more time off from the client work in my business for the month of March. My business is important, my clients are invaluable but in order to get back some of my drive, creativity and joy in being self-employed I must take time off to recharge my batteries and revitalize me.
- Get Outside More. I’m outside for a dog walk or a run 6 days a week and I can feel it when I miss it, but I need more. More quiet, more nature – getting back out with Bailey for more hiking has to become a higher priority. Of course I’m doing this towards the end of winter and heading into spring, one of the rainiest times of year for us… so nature may have other thoughts on this then me but we are going to give it a try!
- Get Crafty. I love to craft – working on my photography, creating gifts with my photos, knitting, making journals, playing with paper. My craft board on Pinterest is definitely growing.
- Make Time to Be Social. This one is incredibly hard and I’m not sure yet how I will approach this. As a crazy busy business owner who is also a major introvert this is one of the hardest. Add to that 1) I work from home, 2) I’m single, and 3) no kids, and 4) bars are not my preferred hangout spot… makes things like socializing rather complicated. Where do you get social and meet knew people? Still trying to find answers to this one.
Resting is NOT lazy, it is essential to your well being. The more I read about stress, adrenals, hormones and sleep, the more I see a needed emphasis on rest and recovery. For each of us, rest will look and feel different from everyone else and will take experimentation on how best to find it and get it. And let’s face it, some days – it just ain’t gonna happen and giving yourself grace in that moment is a form of rest too.
So I challenge both you and me to schedule time to rest for even just 5 minutes – start somewhere and build on that. How will you rest this week?
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”.