Summer has finally arrived. Have you found yourself laying on a hammock thinking about all of the things you “should” be doing and feeling guilty for not moving to do them? As sad as it may seem, even restful moments can feel unproductive. But don’t throw your hands up in the air quite yet. Before you stomp off to tackle your to-do list, give yourself permission to rest first. Without paying attention to this one little detail, it will be easy to fall prey to the attention-demanding, action-provoking thoughts bouncing around your head.
The truth is the to-do list is a lifetime long. This is where the power choice comes in: you can keep your attention on that inexhaustible list, feeling as though you cannot afford to take time off for a break or you can acknowledge and celebrate how hard you work and the number of demands you fulfill each day and then be a good boss and tell yourself to take some time off.
For all of you Type-A personalities, don’t worry, recharging is still doing something. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which counterbalances the negative effects of chronic stress… and it can be fun.
Start by taking advantage of the warm weather and allowing yourself to engage in activities that bring you joy and help you lose track of time. Make sure there are no hard goals to achieve or deadlines to meet and the process of whatever you’re doing is as enjoyable and as satisfying as the outcome. Gardening, hiking, visiting loved ones, painting, going for a drive without a destination, (add your ideas here) all have the ability to help you recharge. But also make sure you take time for some hard core loafing. When you truly rest, there is nothing for you to do, no where to be, no expectations to live up to, no commitments to fulfill… and you are able take pleasure, not guilt, in having a break from it all.
If the to-do list or feelings of being unproductive creep into your break time, remind yourself that everything will be addressed when it needs to be and what needs to be done will be done. Choosing to rest and recharge on your terms is better than waiting until you are forced into take rest because of illness.