Rest and Recovery

There are all kinds of rest, and I’m a fan of them all.  For an introvert, two types of rest particularly apply: stillness to decompress and solitude to recharge. 

I think introversion is often misunderstood.  Most of us who fit into this category are introspective, but we might also flit quite smoothly into the world as social butterflies.

We can talk among the best of them, if it’s substantive conversation about stuff that matters to us.  But, small-talk is exhausting.

The difference between us and the extroverts among us, is we need to consciously prepare beforehand and recharge after our social forays.  Our psychological and social energies are finite and have to be replenished.

Introverts need a physical and mental exhale after enjoying social interactions.  We regroup, then go “out” again.

Rest from the usual.  Rest from routine activities.  Rest from work.  Most people would call this type of rest, vacation.

I’ve secretly giggled when retired folks say they’re going on vacation.  One could argue that this is an oxymoron or even a paradox; a contradiction in terms.  That is, if you define vacation as time away from “the job.”

However, if you consider a vacation to be, time away from your routine activities or rest from the usual, or same-ole, same-ole, then happy vacay to all ya’ll retirees.  I’m aware that “the beach,” is a favorite destination, a change of geography, and scenery for many who are otherwise land-locked.

For others of us, a connection to art or nature gives us rest.  For years, I’ve found exercise in the form of walking/jogging adjacent to woodlands, both restful and invigorating, physically and creatively.  Many a story idea has emerged in mid-walk.

To all of you “caregivers” out there, rest can also include permission to not be helpful, to do something “unproductive,” or to take a break from taking on the responsibility of the world.  Rest from care.  Have you ever said, when tired, “I don’t care?”  This isn’t rudeness, it’s rest.

Or maybe your respite from care might be spending time alone at home Alone can be immensely restful.

Is rest the same thing as relaxation or sleep or vacation?  Is rest only physical?  Is rest only the cessation of work?  We’re told to rest when we’re ill.

Doesn’t one need psychological rest?  To stop thinking, planning, imagining?  Mental illness should surely benefit from rest.  Sometimes don’t you feel the need for rest after awaking from a particularly vigorous dream?

The Sabbath rest is a thing for some Christians.  Instituted by God himself, after creating the world and all within it in six days, He appointed the seventh day, a day of rest.  This we’re told in the epic story of Genesis.  Whew, now that was some work to recover from.  Talk about needing a vacay!

Doesn’t mental work make you just as tired as physical work?  After an epic day of desk-work, (can you say Monday?), one can feel released from the “chain-gang.”

Some folks apparently never rest; thus, we say they are “laid to rest” when they die or bid them adieu with the wish, “rest in peace.”  We’ve all heard someone say, “I’ll rest when I die.”

Rest is one of the more sublime behaviors for the human-being.  This brings me to the ultimate rest, sleep.

Not ones to be described as good sleepers, some of us really treasure rest.  In fact, some nights even though sleep eludes us, we can still rest and rejuvenate, if we allow ourselves the pleasure.

If, instead of counting how many hours of sleep we would get if we go to sleep in the next half hour; we were to just shut down, and allow ourselves to rest, it might be a restful night. We’ve all observed a baby who fights sleep.  Stop being a baby, and rest.

There are moments, particularly after a long day of work, when I curl up in that just-right Goldilocks position, get the My Pillow positioned in that space between my head and neck and reach a position of what can only be described as perfect rest.  It may not result in sleep but it’s satisfying rest.

In fact, I think perhaps one could characterize the baby tucked up in its “fetal position,” inside its waterbed womb, as “growing, in rest.”  Oooh, that sounds like a nice kind of rest.  Regression therapy anyone?  Get some rest.

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