The Importance of Rest

Life Coach's Corner
By Liz Adam

“When all else fails, take a vacation.”

Betty Williams

Summer is the perfect time to take a break. We wait an extremely long time for warm weather here on our part of the planet. When summer’s sun finally rises over us, we want to soak in every minute of it and have as much summer fun as humanly possible.

Sometimes we can get almost frantic about packing in as many summer-only sorts of activities as possible before summer fades too quickly into fall, as we’ve learned from experience. While it’s great to make the most of summer, we want to make sure we’re not trying to do so much that we don’t really get the rest and relaxation that we probably need after a long, dark winter.

Many of us were raised to avoid laziness at all costs. Too much idleness is definitely harmful, but real rest is different from actual laziness.

Rest is taking breaks between periods of work, not the avoidance of work that characterizes laziness. Disciplining ourselves to slow down and take regular periods of rest actually helps us work and live more effectively than if we run the machines of our bodies and minds without giving them a chance to slow down, get refuelled and filled with the fresh oil that even a “mini-vacation” can give us.

Different people enjoy different types of rest. It can be a simple as lying flat on a warm green field for as long as you feel like staying there. Lemonade in a deck chair can rest and refresh us at the end of a long day or week.

If you’re able to take an official vacation, try not to fill the days with tasks that you don’t get a chance to do during more regular days. Tackling a project can feel great, just make sure you pick ones you find fun and fulfilling. Try taking more breaks than you normally would. You may find this makes for higher quality and more enjoyable accomplishments.

It’s important to rest not just our bodies but also our minds. If there’s a person or situation you’ve been concerned about, try taking a day or a week off from thinking about anything troubling. When you notice the situation popping back into your mind remind yourself as often as you need to something like, “It’s Wednesday. I’ll think about this tomorrow.” You might find the mental break from worry so helpful that you can move toward taking more time off worry duty, especially if the situation is one you can’t really change.

Whatever you choose to do (and NOT do!) this summer, enjoy it as much as humanly possible.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

– John Lubbock