How to Rest

Yesterday I felt restless. I was somehow on fire, at the same time I told myself I should rest and relax. Eventually, I spend the evening watching some Netflix.

What was the result? I wasn't satisfied with the day at all. I felt even more restless and that feeling carries on until today, since my head tells me I have wasted yesterday.

Why?

My writing session yesterday mostly ended in my journal, debating with me why I felt so restless and what I could do about it.

This not only applies to me. Restlessness is a result of expectations, not against others, but against yourself. There are days after hard weeks, or events, where we tell ourselves that we need some 'time to rest and do nothing'. But is this situation really relaxing, is it calming for our mind to do nothing?

Especially knowledge workers face this issue. We are working all day with our head and subsequently, we go home to unwind in front of Netflix watching a movie to relax. If you think about it, it's counterintuitive.

What happens in the end is that we are being fired at with emotions. A movie is nothing to wind down.

How to rest instead

Think about it, when was the last time your head is (a) relaxed and (b) satisfied? This is the state you want to reach when you are saying, you want to do nothing. Not in front of a big screen that fires emotions at you.

It's when our head is occupied with something that we know has value and that we enjoy doing. Like reading a book, working in the garden, playing a board game or maybe even a video game, writing in your journal. Against all odds, it's something active, it's something you participate in. Not something passive, like a movie.

What you need to relax, you need to identify yourself. Think through your day, what makes you smile when you think of it? Often it's the opposite of your profession. When working with your body all day, chances are high you can calm down by working out a complex board game in your head. If you are working with your head all day, it's maybe just working in the garden for a while, doing something with your hands and getting exhausted.

I still don't want a robot to mow our lawn, since I love to do it own my own and be busy with this simple task. For me, it's like meditation. Or I like to clean out the garage, it's simple, it's finite, I can clearly see progress. These are just two examples, that can help a knowledge worker like me wind down.

As stupid as it sounds, both of the tasks are mostly more satisfying than watching a movie. Except that I am missing the chocolate while mowing the lawn.

Daniel Hauck

Daniel Hauck

Passionate about writing, minimalism and leadership.
in the forest, near Stuttgart