Sometimes the best thing you can do is not analyze or obsess over the details of “how” and “why” and, instead, let yourself be: nothing more, nothing less. Real rest breathes space into your life so that you can work better, play better, think better, and love better. (You need it.)
In the middle of writing this, I decided to say yes to an invitation to take a real break from my work: putting around in the boat on a sunny afternoon with friends: sanity. Sweet necessity.
The mind can be a beautiful and fruitful place to live, but if we never took a vacation, the work we love to do ends up becoming more of a burden than a meaningful pursuit; the relationships we cherish are a touch more difficult to nurture.
Our resiliency and our well-being depends upon real rest – the kind we might not always post on social media, but definitely the kind that feels like a deep breath for the whole system.
We think we’re resting, but is our rest really restful?
Relaxing on the couch with the mind still on the go is not the real rest I’m writing about.
Stretching and posing on the yoga mat with your mind still racing about what you need to do is not real rest.
Listening to your friend while formulating a reply in your head is not real rest (and it’s not real listening).
If you know how it feels to be on vacation but still have your head in work-mode, or are so busy with your itinerary that you forget to pause and just bask in the moment – then you know what real rest does not feel like.
Sometimes putting your feet up and really relaxing is the most productive thing you can do.
Why Real Rest Matters
Just being can be really uncomfortable when we’re not used to it. Feelings surface. Thoughts want to be heard.
If we let ourselves get used to it, though, and ride that initial wave of discomfort, it turns out to be deeply satisfying and life-giving and space-bringing.
Just like we need quality sleep to cleanse our brains of its natural toxin-creating activities, we need real rest to reboot mind and body – for clarity, creativity, productivity, and sanity.
Real rest is the kind that feels like every cell is thanking you for taking care of you. It is calm, not full of checklists and chores. It is simple: not multi-tasking; not fixing broken things.
Real rest heals and strengthens and doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation (even if your vacation is a 5-minute session of doing nothing).
Self-care isn't always share-worthy. Taking a break is not about proving; it is about living; it is about replenishment.
It’s not my job to tell you what taking a break is supposed to look like. My version of self-care and yours could be completely different and it’s likely to change in accordance with the seasons and circumstances of our lives.
Letting yourself naturally fall into quieter internal rhythms is essentially space for exploration of what feels most restful to you. I encourage you to keep exploring, patiently… and maybe leave your phone out of the equation.
What’s your version of real rest? How does it feel? What does it mean? How does it help?
Know someone who could probably use some real rest? Share this with them, with love!
Rest is fruitful, strengthening, and sane.
P.S. Need to sleep better? Get my book Sleep Affirmations for the kind of rest that keeps you afloat and moving forward into the life you really want.