I crash on the couch after an exhausting day and flip the TV on. I refresh apps on my phone for a while. Then, I half watch as I get up to start dinner. Agreeing that we're both just so exhausted, we eat in front of the TV. We agree that we should probably not watch another episode, but maybe we could start another episode. Finally, when I climb into bed, later than when I planned on it, I feel no more rested than when I walked through the doors after work.
So often choose to rest in ways that deplete my energy.
A few months ago, I asked people on Instagram what they felt were some areas of stress when it comes to productivity. An answer that resonated with me was the challenge of getting real rest.
We have an endless buffet of entertainment options to us, yet it is all too common to be burnt out, checked out, and exhausted.
What brings us to real rest? What gives our brains, our bodies, our hearts, a much needed break?
Rather than offering you ideas on what you can do, I wanted to do some research on what actually causes our bodies to feel rested.
What I found? Our brains kind of just need a break.
Even more than sleep (which is really important) our minds need space to breathe.
This article explained that this rest time for our brains, also called mindfulness or mindfulness meditation is very simply "paying close attention to whatever the mind does on its own, as opposed to directing one’s mind to accomplish this or that."
It's a simple task on its own, but paired with the distractions of life and our own internal desire to be entertained or sound out our own thoughts, it can feel really hard.
The great news? This doesn't have to look like a 1 hour daily practice in a peaceful quiet room. It can be intentional mind wandering during daily tasks like your 15 minute commute, or a 10 minute walk around the block.
Here is an article from Pocket Mindfulness offering 6 mindfulness exercises to try anytime, anywhere.
What may be encouraging to know, is that many studies have shown that this type of activity truly changes our brains for the better.
When we give our minds a little work break, they seem to show up for us happier and healthier and ready to get back to it.
It sounds good in theory. Now for me, it's on to the practice...