I've been dragging for the last week or so. After putting so much mental energy into launching the Reach Out Initiative (which went swimmingly, thanks for asking!), I felt myself deflate and slow down.
We can blame this on the sudden drop in temperature, an excess of pollen in the air, or Mercury Retrograde. Whatever the case may be, I deeply felt that I needed to take a break.
I'm not alone in this cycle: in Sacred Success: A Course in Financial Miracles, author Barbara Stanny described the interplay between action and rest. She writes
While Disciplined Action and Receptive Surrender may be separate stages, they operate in tandem, like dance partners. Sitting in stillness entails discipline. Likewise, Disciplined Action—consistent activity in the direction of your desire—requires time for reflection.
If you're approaching the "time for reflection" arc of the cycle, try one of these 7 inactivities to give yourself a break.
7 Ways to Rest When You Have a Busy Life
The busier you are, the more you need to build in structured time for rest and rejuvenation. Without committing to time for yourself, you will find a way to fill your time with busy work and stray tasks. Do this for too long, and you will burnout. It's inevitable.
Prevent burnout by engaging in one of these (in)activities.
1. Go for a walk
The beautiful thing about walking is that you can do it casually, on a whim, wearing heels, drinking wine, or all-out with a Camelback and hiking boots. Which means, darling, that you can fit it into your schedule whenever you have 10-20 minutes, wherever you are.
If you have a brief moment, head out for a stroll. If you're wearing heels, meander. If you've got a pair of tennies, hit it hard. Walk in silence and/or through nature if you can, but if you can't? Chatting with a coworker while pacing the halls will do the trick.
2. Eat a proper meal
Think about the last time you ate. Did you eat at your desk? While reading? Scrolling Facebook or watching Netflix?
Give yourself the gift of a proper meal. Allot 30 minutes to this venture and use a proper place setting and silverware. Casual and plastic is fine, as long as you take the time to set it up. Then, dine.
3. Park at the back of the lot
If you can't make the time to take a walk, fit one in anyway by parking at the back of the lot. The additional 2-5 minutes will give you a chance to clear your head and has the added benefit of getting in a few extra steps for the day.
You're also tricking your rational mind into being okay with this break. After all, you HAVE to park the car somewhere, right?
4. Listen to nighttime meditations
Still no time? You can still reap the benefits of relaxation by listening to meditations at night. You'll calm your mind (which, if you're anything like me, has a hard time slowing down when I have a lot on my plate), lull yourself to sleep, and, as a bonus, create change on a subconscious level while getting some much needed rest.
5. Have a soak
A warm bath, preferably with sea salt and lavender essential oils, is a nice departure from the everyday. As little as 15 minutes will restore you, as the warmth will penetrate your muscles, the sea salt helps detoxify your body, and the lavender slows the activity of your nervous system.
Try this combo from MindBodyGreen:
Fill your bathtub with warm water and add:
- 1 cup of Dead Sea Salt
- 10 drops of lavender
Make sure to drop the lavender essential oil onto the salt; according to a now-unfindable tip from Torrie Pattillo (via Facebook), essential oils will float if added directly to the water.
6. Schedule a coffee date with yourself
If you're feeling bold, block off time on your schedule to have a coffee date with yourself. Pick a place that serves coffee in real (as in "not paper" or "not to-go") cups and sit in the comfiest chair you can find.
I highly recommend avoiding reading or computing during this adventure, as those distract you from clearing your mind. Instead, use the time to people-watch, to be present in your body, and to observe thoughts that come up.
7. Embrace the dolce far niente
Finally, my favorite: dolce far niente, an Italian concept loosely translated to "the sweetness of doing nothing." Introduced in Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, the dolce far niente is a chance for you to do nothing—without any guilt, stress, or overwhelm. It's time that you set aside for you and you alone, to do as you wish, whatever that may be.
The key here is to focus on that which relaxes you. Read a novel that's been sitting on your nightstand for three months, wear a slinky négligée, lounge in the sun—you decide.
Regardless of how you approach your time to rest, the bottom line is to unplug from the daily frenzy of activity. Instead of using the ten minutes in between school pickup and extracurriculars drop-off to send "one more email," use it to breathe deeply, calm your mind, and relax your body.
Doubtful that you can find the time?
We cover these methods—and much, much more—in Release & Refine, my month-long time & task management course. Over four weeks, we discuss ways for you to relax, get organized, and find your priorities so that you can get on with your Big Life Dreams.
I've discussed Release & Refine before, but now, there's a twist: for the first time ever, Release & Refine is going LIVE at the end of May.
R&R LIVE includes weekly discussion calls, a private forum, and upgraded lessons for a better way to create the schedule that's perfect for you and your life.
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(OK, fine, it's May 16. Are you going to remember that? If not, I strongly suggest that you sign up now and let me remind you when it's time. Like a doctor's appointment, but with less nakedness.)