A Day of Rest

Last week was a busy one, for a number of reasons I won’t bore you with.  Suffice it to say that it was one of those weeks when I had trouble remembering all the the things I was supposed to be doing, let alone actually getting them done.  I like to think I handled it well, but I suspect if you asked those who had to deal with me, they would tell you I was just a little bit cranky from time to time.  (Or very cranky all week long, depending on their level of honesty verses tact.) But still, I finished off the week with most of the items checked off of my to-do list.  Which means that today I finally have a few free hours to spend any way my little heart desires.

And do you know what I’m actually doing today?  Nothing much.  Nothing much at all.

Not so long ago, I would have felt really guilty about wasting so much time when I could be doing something “worthwhile.”  I don’t know about you, but I always have a few big projects hanging over my head that need my attention.  Right now I have an old dresser that needs to be sanded and stained (there was a reason the antique store was selling it so cheaply and displaying it in such a dark corner), and there’s several bins in the basement filled with stuff I’m quite sure I don’t need any more.  Also, I promised my mother I’d wash her windows several weeks ago.  But I didn’t do any of things.

Instead, I mostly just puttered around my house, doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I didn’t actually just sit on the couch and stare into space for several hours, but only because I don’t find just sitting and staring into space particularly relaxing.  What I do find relaxing is doing small chores that catch my attention, in my own way and in my own time.  I only sat down to write this post because I actually felt like writing it, and not because it’s Sunday and I almost always write a post on Sunday afternoon.

It may not seem as if I did anything particularly important today, but the fact of the matter is that I did accomplish one very important thing.  I rested.  I rested my mind by only doing tasks that required little or no thought, and I rested my body by slowing down and taking it easy for a change.  And you know what?  For the first time in several days I don’t feel tired, stressed and cranky.  Instead, I feel pretty darned good.

Life is far too busy for most of us, and we usually have little choice but to forge ahead with our hectic schedules.  But I believe that every once in a while, it’s important to “step off that treadmill” and allow ourselves a little breathing time.  We need to pay attention when our body tells us it needs a break, or when our thoughts become so jumbled that we can’t seem to think straight.  And those are the times when we need to find a way to slow down, tune out as much of the outside world as possible, and allow ourselves to simply be.  Because those are the times when resting is actually the most important thing we could possibly be doing.

94 thoughts on “A Day of Rest

  1. These type of days are very therapeutic after an extremely busy week. Sometimes our mind just needs a break. I am doing the same today. The rain has washed my guilt away, I can’t do yard work in the rain 😀 Enjoy your day of slowing things down. You deserve a break.

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  2. I so agree, Ann. A day or part of one, devoted to leisurely puttering about, doing a bit of this and some of that as inclination strikes is lovely. Restorative to me and to my environment. I used to thing of such things as luxurious in an indulgent way, and I’ve revised my opinion–Its so healthy, I’m moving it to the necessary category. And like you, I’m a much nicer person to be around when I get enough down time.

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  3. So true, Ann. Glad you got in a little bit of time to relax and are feeling restored. In Australia during peak holiday season, we have driver reviver stations on our major highways. They are manned by volunteers and you can get a free cup of tea or coffee, and stretch your legs. The motto is stop, revive, survive. It doesn’t apply just to driving. 🙂 I wrote a little poem on the need for taking a little break a while ago – Put Some Sparkle Into Your Day.

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    • What a great idea!! I bet that does count down on the number of traffic accidents. And I agree that the idea works just as well for the rest of our lives as well. We all need a little revival time.

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    • Exactly, Svet! When I get overwhelmed and busy, I’m just in survival mode, and not really living at all. Now and then survival mode is the best I can do, but I need to be sure that never becomes my “normal.”

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  4. What a great post Ann! We took time this weekend to go to the Tulip Festival in Pella, even though there were endless things to do at home. Feeling refreshed and ready to take in the week. Sometimes we just have to take time to breathe and enjoy!
    Easier said than done for me..🌺

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    • I saw the photos of you two at the tulip festival! I would love to do that someday, maybe next year we can plan a trip together? Meanwhile, I’m so glad you got to take a little time off. I know this time of year is crazy for teachers, but you really do have to take time to relax now and then. Life is just too darned hard when we don’t.

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  5. Ann, if I may be so bold, do not do this for just a day try a week or even a month. The dresser will still be there the windows will have a more wondrous transformation when they are cleaned and the bins get to hang out for a bit longer. Here in Norfolkmountain we let the odd weekend drift by and blot out the working week until the alarm calls us back into other life reality.

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    • Good point! Sometimes we need a longer rest. At the moment, I can’t take the time off, but I am looking forward to a real vacation soon. Meanwhile, I’ll take a day here and there as needed!

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    • Thank you! It is hard to remember, as we tend to think that being busy always means productive and worthwhile. But sometimes resting is just as productive and worthwhile, just in a different way!

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    • Yes, it can be a hard thing to do when we’ve been taught from an early age that being busy is the only way to go. Keep on trying! If you need and want to just sit down, then do it by all means!

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  6. I think we are really plagued by “busy syndrome “ in this country. Almost everyone I know (except my husband) feels guilty unless they’re doing something. I was very disturbed recently by a former student of mine posting on Facebook that even though she’s pregnant, working a full-time job and a part-time consultant job, and completing her master’s degree, she felt very guilty for doing nothing that day. How crazy is that? I’m glad you relaxed. I think we all need to do that more.

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    • That is nuts!! I would be bothered by reading that too. I agree, we suffer from the busy syndrome in this country, and it seems to be even worse in the younger generations who believe that doing just one job at a time is also not good enough…it’s necessary to “multi-task.” Resting can be a good thing! Thanks, Kim!

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  7. In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives filled with these things we feel we must do we often forget to benefit to give ourselves some rest and ENJOY the moments when we do absolutely nothing. Great post and reminder for all of us to take some time to relax!

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  8. I wonder why it is that we guilt ourselves into believing we must always be doing something, that if we aren’t busy with something, we are not productive or valuable. Somehow we attach it to self-worth, and so begins the cycle. Great reminder, Ann, that we all need a mental refresher. 🙂

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    • Thanks! And I agree that it’s time to stop tying our sense of self-worth into being busy and productive at all times. Rest is both good and essential to our well being, I think.

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  9. Amen! Nothing brings peace of mind as much as just having time to “do nothing”… time to let our brains and heads clear, and importantly, follow our own pace and or rhythm. Instead of the perpetual rush. To each of us how we do that is no doubt different and personal. No matter. As long as we do that.

    Important reflections.

    Peta

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  10. Our generation is finally catching on! You did do something of high importance. You took care of you!

    When we were kids, we played ‘outdoors’ hard, we did whatever we were told by our parents, and it wasn’t a request…we were told! I can relate to the guilty feeling because I took my first real nap at 49. I don’t recommend waiting that long to listen to your body. It carries us around all day from task to task, and it needs a break. Sunday was created as the day of rest, You did good. ❤

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  11. My weekends are usually full of traveling to my Mom & Dad’s farm, shopping, traveling with my sister, or whatever, but now and again I get the chance to stay in my PJ’s ALL DAY! Like yesterday. No guilt.

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  12. Couldn’t agree more about the importance of resting our minds and bodies from time to time. Actually did just so today and it was wonderful and really felt like a little vacation! Only did some small chores and spent hours with reading today – pure bliss! 😊

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  13. You are really good at zeroing in on the important things typically overlooked in everyday life. Your post reminds me of what my dad always said to me growing up. Always Impatient and always in a hurry, he’d tell me, “You need to learn to relax!” Now I finally get it. If you’re always on the move you sometimes don’t have time to think about the direction you’re headed. Glad to hear you got to enjoy a little breather, Ann!

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  14. I’ve seen a great meme somewhere, reminding us that resting and relaxing, being deliberately non-productive, is a huge rebellious act under the system of Capitalism which tries to drive us to our deaths through work/consumption/repeat. Step off! Do nothing, and slowly dissolve that feeling of ‘guilt’ too, which has been indoctrinated through the ages by Christianity and Patriarchy…

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  15. That’s what I did last Saturday. I went to a couple garage sales in the neighborhood and then did a load of laundry. And I watched a really corny foreign film and laughed my head off! And I felt so rested and not guilty at all for relaxing all day!

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  16. Oh, how lovely. The apparently aimless days are so often the restorative days that each of us yearn for and crave and so rarely grant ourselves. And yet? Those days are the ones that will truly spark creativity and connection. Onward, Ann!

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  17. Well said! Life has become way too busy and will continue to get so. I have a routine of either going to the gym or practising music waking up early in the morning before I head for my work. But some days, say once or twice in the week, I just take that time to get some extra sleep. I miss my routine that day but feel incredibly relaxed and rested the entire day.

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  18. After being really sick recently, I’m going to try to take a little more down time. I feel guilty too, but I realize that sometimes you need to slow down and things will get done when they get done

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