“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes….including you.” Ann Lamott
The essence of resting is … taking personal meaningful rest from day to day things in your own life such as career, family and life events those known and unexpected.
Rest is defined in the dictionary as: (Verb:) cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself or recover strength.(Noun): an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in a strenuous or stressful activity.
Common synonyms for “rest’ include: repose,relaxation,leisure,respite, time off,breathing space,downtime,unbend,unwind,recharge, ease up/off, let up,slow down.
I think our culture today sees rest as a great, good, noble “thing” to have and do, but in the quest of our frenzied culture distracting us…. asking more and more of us – rest is placed on the never-ending to-do list when everything else is done. It seems that only a few of us are truly able to settle down for a rest in our results-oriented distracted world. Rest is revered as a pursuit and goal but doing and incorporating this into daily and weekly life is out of reach for so many.
Unfortunately, our hectic pace is causing damage to our quality of life. We are destroying every sense of our being ( body, mind, and spirit)
The result? Stress, overwhelm, fatigue, nervousness, guilt, tired to name a few. Do you see yourself in this? Maybe not all the time but perhaps at one time or another or for a season due to work, family or unexpected.
Rest isn’t just for those who are lucky enough to be able to take a “break” or for those who have it all together, it is essential for everyone to simply renew and recharge body, mind, and spirit.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the way to the essence of rest.
The essence of rest/resting when practiced allows us to take a step back from all that is taking place now and to evaluate the status of our lives as well as to identify our values and determine if our life is being lived for our personal values and what matters to us.
What does lack of or a need for resting look and feel like?
Signs include and are not limited to: literally feeling exhausted and tired the majority of the time, easily angered, irritable, overwhelmed, unable to focus, having little to no energy to complete what is asked of you in your day to day, and always feeling behind or never caught up.
Why the need for rest physical and mental rest?
Rest is essential to our physical health. When our bodies are deprived of sleep and full of stress overtime it is unable to rebuild and recharge itself adequately which opens the door to what can be significant health problems such as weight gain, and insomnia, high blood pressure and in some cases depression and heightened anxiety.
Resting reduces stress by moving us out of the physical and emotional situation of what is and acts as a reset or recharge button to our bodies and minds.
The essence of rest and becoming restful starts from within you. It is a personal journey of you noticing – being actively mindful of what is going on and compassionately asking what does this mean to me? What am I being directed to do with these emotional or physical sensations felt in my body and mind?
Here is a “mini-primer” on how to think and incorporate intentional rest in your day to day. Go slowly with this and as you make small changes overtime rest will become a daily and or weekly behavior interwoven in the fabric of your life instead of an occasional planned event or bucket list item!
- Look for contentment in your current life today – One big reason many of us are not able to gather in the essence of rest is that we are always on action mode always looking ahead of where we are and wanting and seeking more than what is at hand today. Just be where you are at today taking off judging and comparing or blame and guilt. Rest in this!
- Plan your rest! Planned rest can simply be taking a walk outside during lunch, exercising after work, sitting quietly away from the TV or other electronic devices such as our beloved cell phones. Adding in intentional silence/stillness as a form of meditation at the start or end of your day.
- Take responsibility for your life – Know this about yourself. No matter what is going on in your life and how busy you are you do have all that you need to bring in a state of rest. No one can do this for you! Each of us has the ability to do at least one thing daily/weekly/monthly that is personally resting to us. We are only as busy as we choose to be. Learning to delegate and just kindly saying no is ok!
- Embrace simplicity – Gathering and collecting things – wardrobe, home goods, cars, stuff takes time to keep organized, cleaned maintained which adds on yet another layer or doing. Find and take on a lifestyle that is authentic to you and incorporates your values versus material possessions. Use discernment between want and need.