I find it immensely difficult to do nothing.
Playing Assassin’s Creed on my Xbox is so enticing, and it can very much feel like I’ve switched my brain off, but its gears are working plenty hard in the background. Reading blogs and writing heartfelt responses is wonderfully rewarding, but can take lots of mental energy. Writing stories engages the beautifully creative part of my mind, but when I hit roadblock, I have to solve the problem by figuring out what comes next. And playing ultimate is self explanatory in terms of expending physical energy.
Doing nothing means exactly that. No screens. No turning pages of books. No exercise. Just sitting – or lying down – and switching off as best I can. It is ok to let thoughts enter the mind, but as much as I am able, I let them exit my mind too.
Now, I am very good at sitting down, staring at a spot on a wall or desk or table, and ruminating over any little anxiety that is trying to grow in my mind. Physically I am at rest, but mentally and spiritually I am in turmoil. Practicing letting go is a skill. It is something I fail at every week. But this is good, because it means I am attempting to let things go!
Over the weekend my life group from church took a weekend away from the city, to spend time together at a beach up the coast. The parents of one of our group have a batch we were able to make use of, and this same person booked another amazing place through Air BnB. Where we stayed was only an hour’s drive from the city, but it felt like we were in another world. Fewer cars, relaxed atmosphere, slower pace: things we would all to well to implement more of in our everyday lives.
It was immensely peaceful. I even made time to write a blog post, and edit more of my novel manuscript, in that place of peace.
At times I found myself overthinking, but with gentle encouragement from the friends around me, I managed to make good choices for my wellbeing. When I feel flat, the best thing to do can be to have a drink of water and go for a walk. Even though I know this, my mind does a very good job of shielding me from making this choice. However, when someone else suggests them as things to do, it’s as if the lightbulb switches on.
Another thing that helped was being around two of the most uplifting kids I know. One always has a smile on her face and chatters excitedly away about anything and everything. The other was keen to throw a disc with me on our three walks up and down the beach. He was good at throwing and catching, as well as chasing the disc down after a long throw! These little encouragements, both intentional and unintentional actions, helped me find plenty of time to rest.
Being around good people can help us survive difficult times in our life. It can also help us to work really hard towards our goals when we feel like we’re moving through mud. Value the time spent with these people, and express that gratitude outwardly with our own words and actions too.
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What things will you need to “switch off” to find your place of genuine rest?
Who in your life helps you to recover when you’re lacking energy?
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“Please” and “thank you” go a long way. As do genuine compliments when you see heartwarming actions. The world can always use a bit of love, so share kindness as you go about your week.