“So, either you’re seeing someone or this vacation time has done marvelous things for you.” I looked at my cousin with a smirk. He laughed, “Then I guess this vacation time has done marvelous things for me.”
Rest. What even is it? I’ve been considering this a lot lately as my Europe adventures give way to a new year and I was reminded of it again as I sat at dinner with my cousin.
Webster defines rest as such:
to cease work or movement in order to relax, Refresh oneself, or recover strength.
To me rest has always been this weird, obscure idea of not doing whatever it is that keeps us in sync with a world that is constantly busy. The problem is: I actually feel more comfortable being busy. So theres that. I suppose rest looks different for everyone depending on where you find it, but there is no denying the importance of giving your body & your mind time to recover - time to re-connect.
Connection. I think this is the point of rest, and why vacation does such good things for us. I mean, think about it. Vacation is usually when we unplug, lay out, read, laugh, and spend time with family or with ourselves. It’s time we set aside to recover from the constant spin of our daily lives.
Truth is, I can’t remember the last time I saw my cousin that fresh. And I’d like to believe that with intention it’s possible to build habits that allow us to come to the top of each week with the same bright eyes as he had after two weeks of vacation.
So the question is: what does it look like for us to make space for that first, instead of running our wells completely cracked and dry before taking a moment to reconnect. And seeing as how we have just phased into the new year, it seems the perfect time to consider new ways to do just that for ourselves.
As a base for beginning, here are a few things to give a whirl in the new year in an effort rest, recover and sustain a sense of connection in our daily lives.
Build a habit of checking in with yourself. Be it in the morning before you get started on your day, in the car after work or whenever makes sense for you. Just take a few minutes to touch base with your goals, your intentions and how you’re actually feeling. Connect. When we unclog, we can better wake up the next day and give it our all. If you want a challenge start with 3 minutes a day of just being quiet and listening. And your time doesn’t start until your brain quiets. If your brain is overwhelmed suddenly with everything you “have to do”, write it down as it comes and set it aside. It will be there at the end of your three minutes, promise.
Where do you feel yourself breathe? Obviously you breathe all day, thats not what I’m talking about. I mean the moments where you find yourself slowing down and saying, “yes. this is good.” That is where you breathe. For me it’s horses. It’s the one place that never feels like work. So where is that for you? Have you found it? If not, take a second and identify it. And then:
3. MAKE TIME (and protect it, fiercely)
This is the hard one for me. Admittedly my life is pretty easy as far as time goes in that I don’t have kids and I make my own schedule, so for me it’s more committing to allow myself the time to breathe. We've been told that enjoying is "selfish" but I believe it's important. I think we were made to enjoy (blanket statement; think healthy). Point is: if you don’t make the time recover you will burn out. Give yourself and hour a week to indulge in whatever it is you’ve identified as your place of rest and relaxation and then commit to protect that space. It’s so easy to file fun away for another time, but intentionality says we have to prioritize it.
4. BE HUMAN
So often we go about our routine without looking up. We look at our phones, we are thinking ahead, we haven’t even finished this task and we’re on to the next. I get it. There are only so many hours in the day, but even though all of these things we do: emails, conference calls, Facebook messages, texts, instagram, twitter…blogging… make us feel like we’re in touch the reality is we need real connection. We need a laugh in line at the grocery store. We need coffee with a friend, movie night, play dates, stories, smiles, touch… we need human interaction, and the basic kind.