Taking Time for Rest and Reflection

I think back to when my kids were young, and I feel like I’m busier now than I was then. I think we all are. We’re just so busy. We’re always doing something, and when we’re not doing something, we feel guilty about it or make excuses for it. But it’s important to take time to rest and reflect. To be curious and wonder, and imagine, and consider possibilities. While on the outside it may appear we are doing nothing, on the inside we are doing very important work.

Rest can take the form of sleep, meditation, or just quiet time in your own space. Rest allows our bodies to heal and repair. But there are other ways to rest from our busy-ness and that involves activities that may not look like rest. Here are some examples:

  • Spending quality time with friends and family – What’s important here is the “quality” aspect of these gatherings. You need to genuinely enjoy time with these people in order for it to be considered rest. This could be a picnic, a leisurely walk, time by the pool, a shared dinner, or a chat over tea. These types of connections leave you feeling lighter and relaxed.
  • Sitting quietly with your eyes closed – This can be a more formal method of meditation, or just you being aware of each body part and focusing on relaxing each one.
  • Eating natural, easy to digest foods – We put our bodies through a lot of extra effort when we consume too much processed, hard to digest foods. Some toughies include: dairy, fried foods, spicy foods, chocolate, alcohol, carbonated drinks, beans. Try replacing a heavy dinner with a lighter one, like salmon and brown rice. Also, drinking lots of water throughout the day helps, too! (9-11 eight-ounce cups per day for women, 12-13 cups per day for men is the general recommendation)
  • Deep, relaxing breathing – Focus on your breath and fill your lungs with oxygen. Take a deep breath in for four counts, then slowly release for 8 counts. Focus only on your breath. Do this for two minutes and you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
  • Nap – Short naps (20-35 minutes) can recharge you and make you more productive. They can also help minimize the effects of lost night sleep.

Reflection may seem like a luxury, but it serves an important purpose. Reflection is the process of looking back on your actions, both good and bad, considering their outcomes, and using those conclusions to direct future actions.  Reflecting like this improves your problem-solving skills and strengthens higher level thinking. Give yourself some time to reflect on the following questions:

  • Am I using my time wisely – Sure, you may be busy, but are you busy in the right way? Are you balancing the areas of your life appropriately?
  • Am I being true to my values and beliefs – It’s all too easy to do what is accepted by others, but that may mean being untrue to yourself so much that you lose your own identity.
  • Have I set goals and made a plan to achieve them – Getting lost in auto-pilot is all too common. Make sure you don’t lose sight of a future by your design. You don’t want to realize in 20 years that you followed everyone else’s path.
  • What behaviors and tendencies have I improved in over the years – Noticing where you’ve grown and improved is an important step in the reflection process. It reminds you that you can change any aspect of yourself that you want.
  • What behaviors and tendencies do I need to work on – There’s always room to become the best you. Considering the stage of your life now and the future you desire, consider what areas need some attention and effort.
  • What actions do I need to take that I’ve been putting off – We all do this. We can get fearful or overwhelmed by “next steps.” Taking the time to consider what the next small step is can gradually lead us a little closer to achieving what we need and want.

Making rest and reflection a priority in your life can mean the difference between “passive living” and “active living.” Living is meant to be an action verb – so get living by incorporating more rest and reflection in your life so you can truly live a life that YOU design.

Share in the comments section your favorite way to rest and/or a reflection question you love.

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

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