“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
I’ve made a lot changes this year to improve my overall quality of life. But one area I’m still struggling with is the way I want to veg out on my iPad or on Netflix when I need to relax or want to take a break.
Out of habit, without even thinking about it, I immediately goto my iPad as a way of “resting”. But it’s not really a restorative kind of rest. It’s more like being lazy and just numbing out. I never actually feel restored or rejuvenated after using it. And even though I’ve kind of noticed that for a while now, I’ve still kept on using it out of habit to passively rest.
But it occurred to me that the reason I haven’t changed that habit is because I haven’t taken the time to find new activities that would actually be restful for me. I need to find NEW activities that restore me and I need to retrain my brain to seek those new activities out rather than just automatically going for my iPad all the time.
I’ve come up with a list of things I enjoy that also put me in a meditative state and/or are truly relaxing for me. I plan on keeping the list as a note on my phone and adding it to my refrigerator where it will be easily seen.
So here were few of the new rest activities I came up with:
- Doing a puzzle (I love this one!)
- Meditation, praying, or practicing a new mindfulness technique
- Working in a coloring book
- Playing solitaire or another kind of card game by myself
- Going for a bike ride or walk
- Going for a drive and listening to music
- Taking a bath
- Baking a treat I enjoy
- Doing Sudoku or a word search game
- Going camping
- Writing letters to friends
- Sitting on my balcony outside and enjoying looking at my flowers
A lot of these are activities I do already, I just have never told myself that I’m going to do them specifically when I want to take a break. So doing them won’t be hard. Making myself do them for the exclusive purpose of resting will be.
The difference with all the activities I listed is that they are all forms of active rest, whereas numbing on my iPad or binge watching on Netflix are forms of passive rest.
Active rest requires active participation on my part but is a healthy and productive way to recharge my batteries. Active rest works because the activities I participate in are enjoyable and engage me at some level – whether that’s mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually – while at the same time allowing me to relax and let off a little steam in a constructive way.
Passive rest on the other hand doesn’t really require any level of mental or physical engagement on my part. All that’s required is for me to just kick back, unplug and let the device in front of me take over.
This type of rest isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. It just needs to be done in moderation. Watching a few episodes of my favorite funny show on Netflix when I’m sad is a really good way to snap out of a funk. But binge-watching an entire season all at once turns me into a mindless zombie. I still think it’s okay to occasionally use passive forms of rest, but it shouldn’t be the default.
Another way of thinking about the difference between active rest and passive rest is active rest is mindful, passive rest is mindless.
So since it will be a new habit for me to find active rest activities and not automatically go for my iPad, I think I’ll prepare “rest box” ahead of time to have on hand. Until my new habit is set in place, the temptation to go back to my old habit of vegging out on the iPad will still be strong because the brain is lazy af, haha. So it’ll be a good idea to have something readily available for me to make good choices .
I don’t want to take any chances or give myself any excuses not to change and create better rest habits for myself! 😅😅