When I was in elementary school I was not a very good swimmer but I really enjoyed going to our apartment pool in the summers. We played diving games and tried to perfect our handstand without toppling over. I would be having so much fun and then get so exhausted that all I could do was float on my back. It was so peaceful to just completely relax, focus on breathing and just focus on the blue sky above and the palms trees surrounding the pool, standing guard. It was effortless and so simple and if I ever tried to fight it, the more I would sink. Once I just let myself go, floating would just happen and for a while I’d feel like I was on cloud. When I felt ready, I’d drop my feet and go right back to canon balls and diving with my family, happy for the recharge.
When you become an adult, completely aware of the craziness of life, it is so easy to forget to enjoy a float once in a while. Some where along the way in “adulthood” we convince ourselves that we have no time to pause, recharge or refocus. We believe there is no option but to keep going and pile more on to achieve success, love, and happiness. In a world where everything is instant and fast paced, we don’t want to miss out on anything. When in reality, we are doing just that. Rest is a life skill, a discipline that enhances every area of our life and enables us to be our best selves. This is how I’ve learned to enjoy resting or floating.
Make it Happen.
It is inevitable so why fight resting? So many people are on a race to burn out and then they are even more mad when they get sick and end up being forced to take a lot of time out to recover. I’ve learned to be proactive and just plan a rest day to press pause on my crazy busy life and just enjoy the recharge. The trick is when you do have a rest day you must be 100% present, because you’re still trying to work, answer email or what not, then you are not actually resting. Some days I have to fight for my rest times but in the long run it is much easier to proactive to my body’s needs than to be reactive on the fly.
Once you make a decision to take care of yourself and rest, don’t apologize for it. Own your decision. The truth is you have nothing to offer anyone – at work, to your family or friends – until you are 100% charged. Running on empty will catch up to you and no one benefits from you running yourself into the ground. That is the quickest way to misery for you and everyone around you.
Savor the Moment.
When you do get the full day off or even the half day or even one hour – SAVOR IT! Enjoy it. Do what you love, what brings you refreshment and peace. I love coffee! I especially love sitting in little coffee shops, tucking myself into a cozy chair with my music and slowly sipping my latte as I watch the world go by. You may like hitting up the gym or even running errands alone, whatever it is – enjoy it!
Be Active and Intentional.
Resting doesn’t mean that you have to be lying in bed and sleeping the day away. If on your rest day you need sleep, then sleep. If not then you’re in active rest. For me this means that I’m only participating in the activities that really recharge my soul which means on active rest days I’m not just sitting out home or sleeping. I think that when I say rest some people think it means doing nothing or sleeping. I know some people that enjoy cleaning, so deep cleaning their home is their form of active rest. Some days I spend time with my family and friends on my rest days and it makes me happy and recharges me for my week. Only you know what you need, just remember to be so intentional with your time making sure whatever activity you choose, you’re getting recharged.
Move On, Don’t Unpack.
As with anything, the goal is always balance. Too little rest will lead to burn out and too much rest will just make you stagnant. Rest is a discipline that will help you to grow in all areas of your life, it is meant to be a place that you visit but if you live there then you’re completely checking out and that rest turns into just being lazy. Lazy is just resting before you’re tired. There are no good fruits from laziness. As a rule of thumb, on my work days I try to be as productive as possible so that when I get to my rest days I have a lighter schedule and don’t have to worry about what I didn’t do. It is so much easier to enjoy my rest days knowing I worked hard the rest of the week.