This is bonkers. Believe it or not, most of the “restful” activities we do in our day are not actually restful.
I call those non-restful types of activities Counterfeit Rest.
Because think about it.
True rest will recharge you. It will leaving you with more energy.
After you have taken time to rest and recharge then you should actually be rested and recharged.
The trick is this:
True rest requires effort.
A few examples of things that leave me feeling recharged:
- Reading a physical book
- Cooking / grilling
- Tidying an area of my house
- Woodworking in my garage
- Taking a walk around the neighborhood
- A good rowing session
Contrast that with zoning out in front of a screen, which does NOT leave me feeling rested or recharged. And yet, that is still my default behavior when I have some down time.
A Cheatsheet for Planning Better Rest
Below is cheat-sheet template we made for you. (Download a printable PDF version of this using the link is at the bottom.)
You can use this template to be a bit more proactive with your moments of down time:
Next time I have [timeframe] (15 minutes, one hour, half a day, full day, weekend, week) of free time, the thing that will be most restful or restorative is…
I won’t want to do this thing because it’s easier to just (draining activity).
However, if I take the least amount of energy required in order to do (restorative activity or activities), I know that I will feel ______________ as a result.
Here’s an example:
The next time I have 30 minutes of free time, the thing that will be most restful or restorative to me is reading just 2 pages from my current book. I won’t want to do this thing because it’s easier to just check in on all my social media profiles. However, if I take the least amount of energy required in order to do read just two pages, I know that I will feel energized as a result.
You can fill out multiple copies of this restful plan. Maybe one to help define a better default habit rather than checking your phone when you have a few minutes of down time. And fill one for various timeframes: what would you do to recharge if you had a full day? Or a full week?