Kris Carr

Emotional Health

How to Calm Down & Enjoy Your Time Off

Hiya Gorgeous!

Do you know how to relax? Take a chill pill? Quiet those racing thoughts for more than a moment or two? As a busy business owner, this can be a challenge for me. I bet that’s the case for you, too.

It’s no surprise. Life can be busy and a lot of us struggle to get real, rejuvenating rest. We might think we’re taking the time to refuel—but really we’re still on the go.

We’ve forgotten how to calm down & enjoy

Picture this: A couple years back (when we could all still travel!), my hubby and I had just arrived in the Bahamas, ready to unwind after a busy season. I set up on the beach, book in one hand, green juice with a pineapple twist in the other. Then, it started.

The busy brain and racing thoughts. I couldn’t sit still. I tried to close my eyes and relax, but the whole thing just felt so… foreign. It was like I’d completely forgotten how to calm down and enjoy myself.

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’d actually been still.

I’m always moving! Always fixing, folding or cooking something, thinking about tomorrow or checking the news.

Sound familiar?

That’s when my big a-ha moment came:

There’s real rest… and then there’s putter rest.

Real Rest vs. Putter Rest

Real rest is still and restorative. We lay down our to-do lists to really energize and enjoy ourselves.

Putter rest, on the other hand, is busy and even a bit frantic. When we’re putter resting, we fill the time with chores and errands, tasks and to-dos.

The truth is many of us have forgotten how to calm down and enjoy ourselves—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, or we start to notice the dull aches and pains that we typically power through. So we panic, then we putter.

Tell me I’m not alone here…

No wonder we often end our vacations (or, more recently, stay-cations) feeling less energized than when we started. Especially in this demanding year, I don’t want that to be the case for you, gorgeous.

I want you to enjoy real, renewing and restorative rest.

Remembering how to unwind

Today I want you to dig deep and get real about rest. Is your stay-cation filled with a long list of household projects? Do you struggle to stop all your racing thoughts when you finally settle in for some R&R? If so, you might be on the fast track to burnout, sweet friend. But we can turn things around.

Check out this video (that I recorded right after that wonderful Bahamas trip) to find out:

  • What putter rest is and how to identify it
  • Why we gravitate toward putter rest
  • How to really relax and rejuvenate instead

Remember—you’re going to spend plenty of your days working, arranging and doing! Your body and mind deserve a real reboot every once in a while.

Give yourself the rest you need to show up as your best self in this beautiful life of yours.

Your turn: Do you sometimes default to putter rest? And what could you do to really rest instead?

Peace & sweet relaxation,

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  1. Jo says:

    Timing couldn’t have been more perfect on this, Kris. Leaving for 12 days staying with family and friends in TN, FL and SC. Vacations where you don’t have to pay to stay are the only ones we can do. But rest is needed. You are right. I run a food bank from my home now for 28 years. The 227 families can sometimes run me! Just what I needed.

  2. ‘Putter’ resting, luv it! As a mum of three it’s pretty challenging to get some ‘real’ rest. It’s hard NOT to pick toys up off the floor. But every so often I just step over them and sit down with a great book. I teach a lot of people how to make dietary changes and use natural plant based medicines to tackle stress & emotions. I always talk about the importance of getting into the parasympathetic state (now the putter resting state!) only then can your body heal, rebuild, rejuvenate.

  3. Kim says:

    Hi Kris! I am also a chronic putter rester LOL. My boyfriend and I have developed the tradition of unplugging completely on one day each week, usually Sundays for us. If the weather permits, we take the boat to the lake and just sit in the sun; he fishes and I read. If the weather is bad we stay in and catch up on the latest movies we’ve been wanting to watch or just relax. Either way, we don’t do any work, we don’t check our emails, we don’t run any errands and we only respond to calls or texts from family. It has made a big difference in my stress and anxiety levels going into the upcoming week!

  4. Victoria Rister says:

    Thanks Kris for naming it. I have realized that my rest is more putter than rest but before your post didn’t know how to express it. Find myself sitting down on the porch chair to read and then hopping back up to get something or do something and then back down to sit. Or pausing a movie to do this or that. Interrupting my quiet moments to straighten or put away…. Now I can name it and create a mantra, “Keep putter down and stay relaxing.” As I write that I do feel the discomfort with doing nothing but stillness and need to breathe deeply.

    • kris says:

      Oh boy can I relate to what you’re sharing, Victoria. Keep breathing through the discomfort, it will pass and you will feel better (happier, healthier) for chillin’. 🙂

  5. I needed this, thank you!
    I have a hard time to give myself completely off. I am a true putter rest person!! Even when I am ill, I keep going!
    Thanks Kris!

  6. c says:

    Thank you once again, beautiful Kris, for the beautiful reminder to mindfully enjoy this beautiful life 🙂

    Everyone’s comments resonate and I appreciate the tips! Different things work for different people, and I love to opportunity to learn about others and glean from their discoveries. Thank you all!

    I go through stages where I rest more, but usually because I have a new baby and I forgive myself anything that might cause any stress to focus on healing and connection with my family. Having more babies isn’t the optimal plan for me to allow myself myself rest more, haha! I vow to continue make discoveries and practice honoring my body, mind, and family with focused rest.


  7. cheryl says:

    The description of your typical vacation is EXACTLY how mine go. Arrive, hit the ground running. Go, see, do, eat, shop, plop, repeat! On a recent trip to the west coast to visit my son, it wasn’t until the last day, when I was alone, that I made some serendipitous choices, and ended up having blissful, restorative, STILL afternoon. I am a chronic putterer at home, and ironically, the more tired I am, the more putterly I become. I love your new meditation album. Especially the meditation on releasing fear. Fear is what keeps us puttering. Fear of facing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, as you said. Fear that the laundry will get wrinkled. Fear that we will have to break out that rusty ironing board. Fear that people will reject us if we don’t have presentable clothing. Fear that we are unlovable, unlikeable, unworthy. So we putter. Thanks for this great video, Kris!

  8. Ann says:

    Real Rest is leaving my laptop at home while on vacation. Vacations used to be just working in a different location but now I do not bring my laptop on vacation .I still have my phone so I can reply, “on vacation” but not work. My husband took it a step further and set an auto reply on his email and text messages to say he is on vacation.

  9. Patti says:

    I can’t tell you how AMAZING this message is for me. Putter rest ….. wow….it’s what I do. Then I wonder why I can’t sleep well. Time for me to re-learn real rest. I think reading on my tablet in bed isn’t the best habit. Too much temptation to surf the net as my mind races all over the place. My vow is to transition from putter resting to real rest. Thanks so much for this post.

  10. Mia Moran says:

    OMG! Love “putter rest!” With 3 kids this is definitely my MO on the weekends… Real rest does not happen, and when my hubby tries to fit in a nap, I always get annoyed! I actually did not give it such a cleaver name, but realized this last week that I needed some real rest. For any moms out there… I realized it is impossible for me to really rest in my home when there is laundry, dishes, and mostly a child or husband asking for attention! LOL. So last weekend, my MIL was out of town, so I packed a bag and spent 2 luxurious days in her apartment doing just what I wanted… and doing a lot of real rest! I hope to find this in my home someday, but for now, I may need to leave every once in awhile….

    • kris says:

      You rock, Mia! I am so happy you shared this because I bet other moms need to read it, too. I can imagine that many moms have a hard time resting at home AND also giving themselves permission to do what you did. BUT when mom is happy, healthy and recharged, so is everyone else. Great self-care example.

  11. Angie says:

    Wow- you just nailed what I feel all the time!!! Now I have a name for it! I am a mom of two teen girls who go to school in another town, 35 minutes away. I also have two home based businesses. Between balancing the home biz, school responsibilities, the house, laundry, dog and kitty care, all I do is work and “putter rest.” I am always saying to my husband I need to leave the house to feel restful. I let him drive and I just sit and watch the trees go by. It doesn’t make sense to him why we can’t rest at home. But this explains it! Even at this moment I am putter resting, as I am about to move onto the next thing. What to do! Not sure I can really rest while at home…

  12. susan thornton says:

    oh, how right on you are Kris. Thank you for making that refined distinction between putter rest and real rest. I am a master at putter rest and calling it real rest. Working hard to find a way to turn off my brain and old patterns of overwork and overcompensation – laughed as I wrote that line, says a lot – appreciate the reminder and perspective. Honestly, I’m already on the verge of burnout which isn’t going to do anyone any good. Got myself some real rest to incorporate into my overly jammed schedule. xo

    • kris says:

      Sometimes scheduling in time for real rest is the best thing you can do for yourself, Susan! Hope you can find the time soon. xo, kc

  13. Antoinette says:

    Real rest for me is putting the alarm clock on snooze and just lying there is bed. I like to feel my pillows and sink into my soft mattress. Then I just
    Thank God for another day and all the blessings He will bring my way. I don’t think about my work or to do list. I just want to enjoy the moments before the alarm rings again.

  14. Laurie Rickerd says:

    Aha…. I am a putter rester! Thank you Kris, for bringing this to light for me.

    I find that I get true rest when I am quiet and still before God. He even commands us to Be Still and Know that I am God. He is in charge and more than able to run my world. So, upon reflection, I find that I am truly getting rest when I fill my mind with God’s promises from scripture, or just listen to hear him lovingly whisper.

  15. Dalea says:

    Kris, thank you SO much for this! It is so spot on and made me really think about how I have been spending my “rest” time. It definitely hasn’t been restorative and I think this is exactly why! I feel like this is going to help me better fill up my cup, so that I can support my family and serve others even better. Thank you soooo much! xoxo

  16. Carol says:

    Real rest is rare!! The place where I can feel myself truly relaxing is on a particular screened-in porch on a cabin near Camden, Maine. The ocean breezes, the salt aromas —- all those negative ions……AHHH!!!!

  17. Natalie says:

    I can’t agree more. That’s so true. I realize real rest is when I go to somewhere far in not order to discover new things but enjoy my time beside my hotel’s swimming pool, listen to chill music, have some cold drinks and just lie down all day long. That’s so relaxing and free, like living in my own dream xD

    Love your video a lot!!!

  18. Lily says:

    Ah, what a refreshing and powerful gift of a post! Your distinction between putter resting and real rest reminds me of the wonderful Emerson quote, “When half-gods go, the gods arrive.”
    After pondering your points this morning, I put on my coat and walked straight out into the yard here to lay back and join the stream-side snowdrops in just BE-ing. Feeling my breath and watching those dear flowers waver in the breeze as the stream burbled its song and the sun came out to warm us all was so sweetly restorative. It made me feel simply, deeply alive in a way I haven’t for a puttery long time – quietly and directly connected to the powerful and beautiful mystery that is life. It filled my well and warmed my heart…. Thank you for the wake-up call to rest, Kris!
    ( p.s. “Putter rest” and “sneaky hustling” are such funny, fitting and memorable terms 😀 love ‘em! )

    • kris says:

      Thank you for sharing your morning with me, Lily! Isn’t it amazing what you notice when you stay in the moment? The sound of the stream, the feeling of the sun… I love it! xo, kc

  19. Barbara Spikes says:

    Great information. I think if am sitting with my feet up while watching PBS and working on my computer. I need to practice relaxing! Who knew! Thanks.

  20. Aurora Mary Kilai says:

    Hi Kris,
    This is a realization I’ve just recently come to….thanks for confirming it! For me, it’s always been about giving myself permission to just do nothing and sit! My mom, God bless her, raised 5 kids and was always on the go. Rest was not an option for her back then. I recognized and released that pattern in me so I could then give myself permission to rest without feeling guilty. I had to realize it’s not all up to me and that who I am and what I do is enough…. whether resting or actively working on something. Accepting and allowing I am enough creates space to rest quietly or even relax more in the doing process. Big Ah Ha for me!
    Thank you for putting yourself out there, for being the beauty you are, and for all you do. Abundant Blessings, Aurora

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