The Gifts of Rest

Most workaholics discount or ignore rest, thinking it wasteful and unproductive. Rest includes getting enough sleep at night, naps and breaks, silent time alone, or just sitting or lying still. Strolling along the beach or reading an engrossing mystery may be relaxing, but they are not restful. And neither is lying awake worrying.

Rest is the most important "activity" we do. Here are some of the gifts of rest, if we accept them:

  1. Physical and mental RENEWAL. No matter how pleasurable the activity, you will enjoy it much more if you are rested. If you are tired, you will have to draw on adrenaline for energy. Even if offered the best, say no if you need rest. Rest is the best reward you can give yourself.
  2. Experiencing our BEING. Being alone with ourselves without the distraction of props or activities. Appreciating the pleasure of solitude. Learning the art of self-enjoyment.
  3. SLOWING our pace. Regaining a healthy breathing rhythm.
  4. INTEGRATING the interconnections and impacts of our actions and those of others.
  5. Quietness to listen for GUIDANCE from our Higher Power. Reminding ourselves of our spirituality and to get out of the way of God's plan for us. Noticing when we have shifted from flow to effort, from God's will to self-will, from letting go to trying to control.
  6. Gaining PERSPECTIVE by a temporary withdrawal. Unwinding from being overly focused. Seeing where we lost our vision. Noting what we do that is unnecessary. Reminding ourselves to be selective. Being silent to reflect on the deeper meaning of events, speech.
  7. Putting space into our day to SAVOR each event. Digesting impressions. Freshening our perceptions. Unwinding from being overly focused.
  8. Catching ourselves before we RELAPSE into ego and self-will. Keeping awareness of our emotions and body signals, including energy level. Changing our thoughts to healthier ones. Regaining our patience, flexibility, humor, wisdom and creativity.
  9. When ill, allowing our body to HEAL itself.
  10. Cooperating with the universal RHYTHM of ebb and flow, winter and summer. Treating time as a friend.

Originally appears as pages 204-205 in the W.A. Book of Recovery. This literature is also available as a downloadable PDF file