Get away and unplug. You’ll come back stronger than ever. – MICHAEL HYATT
Maintaining balance is vital to a healthy outlook. No matter what side of the political spectrum you are one, we can all agree times are turbulent. Turbulence is tiring. Turbulence is distracting.
However, it is summer, and although it may take a bit of imagination, it is a season that demands we somehow let go of the frantic demands and structures of the other seasons, and just breathe, right?
As a person who retired from a 38 year civil servant career,
most of which was spent in front of a radar screen as an air traffic controller, shucking off structure and stress was my idea of heaven on earth. It still is, yet at the same time, I was not naïve enough to believe the illusion that this kind of place really exists. At least not for any length of time.
Intentionally Keep Your Balance
For instance, after years of telling airplanes where to be and not to be, I found balance in an unseen structure. Both parties, pilots and controllers, learned this structure and then took intentional action within that structure to create a non-stressful air traffic flow – well, most of the time.
I find the same to be true in our financial life: Intentionally creating a budget
in anticipation of projected income and adhering to that budget takes the stress out of cash flow. This is proving to be invaluable as prices go up and wall street plummets.
In all of these examples, one must be flexible, making adjustments for the unanticipated. Having flexibility includes building in appropriate margins
so surprise events are a bother rather than a crises.
Why build in time for the unanticipated? Because there are forces at work that put pressure on the best intentions. For example in:
- air traffic: weather, mechanical, and/or systems failures will occur.
- financial matters: unplanned or unexpected expenses, that “bargain” or emotionally unplanned purchases threaten to derail precious resources.
- time: the need to breathe, to rest, to jump off the constant demand of life is real.
Why not PLAN for it? If you do not, someone or something else will…..
Rest – What is it – Really?
: a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities
a : freedom from activity or labor
b : a state of motionlessness or inactivity
c : the repose of death
: peace of mind or spirit
at rest: resting or reposing especially in sleep or death: quiescent
: free of anxieties
Leaving aside the “repose of death” for this discussion, this rest thing is rather like nailing Jell-O to the wall. What to do? For nailing Jell-O to the wall, put it in a container. For achieving a place of rest, recognize and deal with the forces at work, then create the right structure.
Rest in this life is not the absence of structure but rather adjusting or forming a structure that promotes rejuvenation. Think of crossing a ravine on a rope or net bridge. Once you find the dynamic balance
between the forces at work, one can cross with relative ease. If you ignore or fight the forces at work, the crossing will be a lot more work!
Telling Time Where to Go
Most of us, to some degree or another, organize and plan our work. Why not do the same for rest? I know, it seems weird to plan rest and recreation, but it does, in fact, make these times more restful.
Here are a few things to think about:
Daily rest. Preparing for that much-needed 7 – 8 hour of daily rest facilitates its effectiveness. Rather than flopping into bed after a quick face wash, experts recommend taking 30 minutes or so to transition.
I have an evening routine. It includes:
- shutting down or switching to night-time mode on electronics
- thinking over my day’s activities
- verbalizing gratitude as I prepare for bed
- reading something recreational for a few minutes
Weekly Rest. Our weekend activities include changing up the rhythm, by incorporating activities that refresh and provide balance to our weekly schedule. We generally do not sleep in but may take some extra time for an afternoon lie-down. Sundays are for church with the evening reserved to ease into and prepare for the week.
Seasonal. Even with the above rest periods, seasonal breaks are needed. Give serious thought to what truly brings rest and rejuvenation to you and your family. Starting ahead allows for a realistic look at the budget, saving, and avoiding the after-vacation stress of debt.
We generally avoid peak-time travel for long trips. We prefer to indulge in nearby day or long weekend trips. For instance to celebrate July 4 one year we:
It was an amazing, refreshing, restful day in Wichita, KS
Again – Be Intentional! Keep Your Balance-
The point of all this is intentionality, even with rest. It’s that dynamic balance thing. I am a long-time user of a tool to help pull my dreams, visions, goals, tasks, and even surprises into focus.
Last, I want to give the underlying secret to it all. It is found in the Gospel of Matthew spoken by Jesus: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
It’s all a choice.
How will you incorporate intentional rest into your life? What one thing will you do this week to rest? Please comment below.