Do you know how to relax? Take a chill pill? Turn off that busy brain of yours for more than a millisecond? If you’re keeping up with my weekly posts, you know that until a couple of weeks ago, it had been a loooong time since I’d done anything of the sort.
You see, many of us aren’t so good about getting real, sit back and tune out-style rest. We might think we’re taking the time to refuel—but really we’re still on the go.
When rest isn’t restful
Picture this: My hubby and I had just arrived in the Bahamas, ready to unwind after a super busy few months. I set up on the beach, book in one hand, green juice with a pineapple twist in the other. Then, it started.
My mind was racing. I couldn’t sit still. I tried to close my eyes and relax, but the whole thing just felt so… foreign. I wanted to crawl right out of my skin!
As I sat there squirming, I thought about my at-home relaxation practices. And then it occurred to me—I couldn’t remember the last time I had been really, truly still. I’m always moving! Always fixing, folding or cooking something, thinking about tomorrow or checking the news.
That’s when my big a-ha moment came:
There’s real rest, and then there’s putter rest. And no, I’m not talking about golf!
Real rest vs. putter rest
Real rest is still and restorative. There are no to-do lists in real rest. Putter rest, on the other hand, is busy and maybe even little frantic. It’s filling time with chores and errands, never pausing for long enough to restore your energy supply.
The truth is many of us have no idea how to relax—even when we’ve set aside time to do exactly that. Just “being” can be really uncomfortable when we’re not used to it. Feelings bubble up that we’ve been trying to ignore, and we start to notice the dull aches and pains that we typically power through. So we panic, then we putter. (Or is that just me, LOL!)
No wonder we often come back from our vacations feeling more stressed and drained than when we did when we left!