Is Doing Nothing Restful?

Posted by on Oct 20, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Is Doing Nothing Restful?
After a long week of meetings, deadlines, relational gymnastics, improvisational managerial parkour, and other assorted to-do’s it just feels right to want to completely unplug and shut down. The logic holds that if a car’s gas tank is empty it is just going to sit where it lies. And why would humans be any different? The fact of the matter is that we humans are finite and tiredness, even exhaustion, is normal (for lots of reasons) at the end of a week. Needing to rest and recharge is to be expected. This can be a hard reality to accept in the achievement culture we live in. Human beings are not machines like cars and petering out to immobility when we run out of fuel is not always the wisest use of rest time. We can all relate to feeling more exhausted after an extended binge session of our favorite show on Netflix or after the third full NFL game on Sunday afternoon. Sitting still may be the logical route a machine takes when its tank is on empty, but this is only because it lacks the autonomy, complexity and dignity necessary to refuel itself. You are not a machine, you are an image-bearer of God, your rest should reflect this fact! Here is some good news: you have the ability, even when you are exhausted, to take part in your effectively recharging and refueling. It is understandable to hear this message and think: “Oh great, now resting has become just another to-do.” There is indeed a skill to learn and grow in here, which does take some effort. But once learned, via a very simple equation, more freedom and rest are bound to enter into your weekly routine. The Rest Equation: “If you work with your mind, rest with your hands. If you work with your hands, rest with your mind.” Like most helpful advice, simplicity is key, and the above equation is just about as simple as it gets. But it may need some clarification: working with your mind means that the work you do on a regular basis relies heavily (obviously not entirely) on utilizing brain power to problem solve, relate effectively to others, creatively implement solutions, calculate strategy, delegate tasks to a team, etc… You’re not necessarily setting bricks in a wall for eight hours but a long day of strategizing can leave you just as tired. Mental tiredness is real even if your back doesn’t necessarily ache. Working with your hands is what is sounds like: on a daily basis are you primarily utilizing physical strength and general mobility to achieve your work goals? Aches, pains, and sweat are your trusty companions in these lines of work. If you have identified which of the two, mind or hands, you primarily see yourself working with during the week, it’s an easy next step in figuring out how you should primarily rest during time off. Some examples of resting with your hands include: actively being in nature, hiking, playing a sport, riding bikes, going for a run, working in the yard, building something, organizing messy parts of the house, cleaning, washing and detailing the car, walking the dogs, etc… Some examples of resting with your mind include: reading a book, planning the next week’s meals, playing a board game with friends or family, watching an engaging movie and then discussing it with those you just watched it with, planning a home improvement project, making an effort to learn a new skill, taking a class, etc… If you utilize the Rest Equation a majority of your days off you will undoubtedly see returns on your energy levels heading into the next week of work whether or not its hands or mind work.  

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