Skip to main content

Have you ever felt so tired you didn’t know what you needed?

Picture this: Your spouse leaves crumbs on the counter after buttering toast and you explode, “If I wasn’t always cleaning up your crumbs, we would have friends, and I’d get my book done!”

Isn’t that silly? And yet you know I’m right. We’ve all done it.

We want energy to arrive in our lap. A bolt of inspiration!

You see a great movie and you are inspired to write the great American novel. You have a great time with some friends and you’re inspired to create a supper club so you can be together often.

But then you get home. You write three paragraphs and you’re tired. Or you hunt through three food blogs and you’re overwhelmed. Suddenly the novel and the supper club seem completely out of reach.

 

Do you know what happens then? A little piece of your dream dies.

Did you know you have a dream for your life?

It’s germinating deep inside you, weighted down by exhaustion.

When your dream dies, you begin to resent your spouse, as if they stole your dream.

Exhaustion and overwhelm turn you into an accusation monster. You tear your partner apart, “It’s all YOUR fault,” because you don’t have resources to take care of yourself.

If this happens once or twice, an apology is an easy fix. But when you let your tired-self dictate how you treat your partner over and over? You’re wounding your relationship.

The rest of rejuvenation is an energy factory for your life

Here’s my energy formula: recovery + restore + rejuvenate = Energy. TONS of energy.

Let’s define the 3 types of rest:

  • Recovery rest = Rest to recover from exhaustion. Recovery rest seems to make you more tired at first, because you’re rest starved. Your body collapses: Finally! your body says, and it falls deeply into the rest it’s been craving. Think of recovery rest as a wakeful way to sleep.
  • The next type of rest is Restorative rest = Restoration rest helps you regularly synthesize the past and prepare for the future. This of restorative rest like it’s your resupply house for life.
  • Rejuvenating rest = Rest to launch. Rejuvenation rest catapults you back to your life with energy to leap forward.

Do you resist rest as much as my clients do? Does it feel like a waste of time to you to rest?

If so, you’re limiting yourself.

 

If recovery rest is all you ever get, you’re headed for burn out

Most people are stuck in a cycle of recovery rest. They GO! Until they CRASH! Then they watch TV or scroll long enough to GO! Again. Until they CRASH! Again.

This kind of rest perpetuates adrenal fatigue, and it’s unsustainable.

Most of the energy you crave is created when you give yourself time to cultivate the other ways to rest: restore and rejuvenate.

Think of restoration rest like going to the store. You get your kitchen well stocked so that, when you have energy to cook something, you’re already prepared with ingredients.

Think of rejuvenation rest like filling a rocket booster. Imagine how much energy needs to be stored inside that booster to give the rocket enough power to escape the earth’s atmosphere. There’s an entire TEAM working to prepare for that launch.

Don’t expect yourself to run on recovery rest alone

Imagine what would happen if, an hour before the rocket launch, flight director said, “OK, how’re we gonna get this baby in the air?”

It would be overwhelming, right? The team would toss up their hands. Impossible. But we do this to ourselves, don’t we?

What part of your life are you most apt to expect instant results?

Notice the disappointment you feel when you don’t give yourself time to plan and fill your tank so you have the energy you need to launch.

In order to launch a dream, you need time to get all that rocket fuel into your tank.

You need to store up energy so you have enough of it to escape your current atmosphere.

If you never take time to rejuvenate, you’ll surge at your dream, but you won’t have that stockpile of energy needed to escape your current atmosphere. You’ll crash.

Your dream will be dashed. If you do that several times, you convince yourself the dream is out of reach.

When you want something that you don’t let yourself have, you get grumpy. Then you turn to blaming your partner, “If I didn’t have to clean up your crumbs, I’d write my novel.”

I love windmills because I feel restful watching them make energy.

There are many different reasons we need rest. When you can pinpoint your need for rest, you can better define what will give you rest.

Let’s take each of the 3 kinds of rest one by one:

1. The first and most basic way to rest is Recovery

When your legs feel like cement and your get-up-and-go is gone, you need to recover before you can restore or rejuvenate. Isn’t this fascinating? That you need to rest before you can rest?

You just need to vegetate and feel your breath go in. And out.
If rest is a regular part of your energy cycle, your gas tank fills quickly.

But if you run on adrenaline and caffeine, your tank becomes a sponge, and, before you sense filling up with rest, your tank first needs to absorb the energy like a sponge soaking in water.

Falling below empty means you can expect that rest will, at first, make you more tired. This is your body signaling you to hold still. Stop striving.

Times when you’re likely to fall below empty and need the absorption power of recovery rest are:

  • Grief: Nothing begs your body to be still more than grief.
  • When you’re overworked: Our society celebrates over-working, but at a certain point your body senses that you won’t volunteer to stop, so it shuts down.
  • After an over-reach: While vacations rejuvenate, and promotions excite, these activities also take a lot of extra energy, so you also need recovery time where you can fill back up.

 

Be warned: Are you overly exhausted all the time?

We all get exhausted and need recovery rest some of the time. But if you regularly fall below empty–and need recovery rest–here are the challenges you can expect in your life:

  • Weight gain: Science shows that our need to eat increases when we’re exhausted. And the food we crave the most is fats or sugars. If you are regularly below empty you will eat in order to rest instead of eating to nourish.
  • Alienation: Tempers rise and patience thins when you’re exhausted. You snap at people you love. If you only snap occasionally, this is easily forgiven, but when it’s a pattern, you drive away the people you love most.
  • Early death: When you’re exhausted and you keep pushing forward, your body runs on adrenaline and caffeine. The stress of perpetual exhaustion can shorten your life.

So, try this:

Notice the times you’re most likely to suffer exhaustion.

Identify several ways to guarantee yourself deep rest so you can recover from being empty.

Track the number of times you need recovery rest. If the number feels alarmingly high, seek help to restructure your life before your health suffers.

 

Here’s some ideas that soothe when you need recovery rest:

  • Sleep/nap/doze: a normal night of sleep isn’t enough when you’re below empty. Let yourself lay still and fall in and out of awareness.
  • Television/podcasts: listen to someone else tell you a story, so you can just receive
  • Sun/bath/blanket: indulge in sensory pleasures that smell good, or feel soft on your skin

Think of yourself like you’re a toddler who needs help and attention in order to rest well.

2. Now let’s talk about the second kind of rest: Rest that Restores

Just like you’d never expect your car to run forever without a source of energy to fill up, you can’t expect that of yourself. Restoring rest is the overlooked, unsexy category of rest. But it’s the gas station for your life.

Think of restoration like you’re headed to The-Store-For-Your-Life. That’s where you get to resupply with everything you most need.

You’ll know you’re restored when you can easily:

  • Care for your body, eating healthy food and getting exercise
  • Face your upcoming calendar with anticipation rather than dread
  • Enjoy down time without feeling agitation or fear

Restoration helps you reflect on how life’s going and prepare for what’s coming up. Restoration synthesizes the past and supports the future.

 

Restoring regularly?

If you regularly find time to let the dust settle from last week and to spiff up for the week to come, you can expect the following from your life:

  • Ease: You’ll feel more prepared to meet challenges.
  • Traction: Without the need to run on adrenaline or caffeine, you’ll find you have stamina to finish projects and polish up the details.
  • Momentum: You’ll notice your successes—even the tiny ones—and build on them week by week.

 

Be warned

Everyone finds restoration differently.

When I was a mom of two little kids, I’d get tired from juggling the details of other people’s lives, so putting things into their places restored me. I’d clean a closet or drawer to restore.

But when my seven-year-old son was tired, he needed to toss a ball against the wall and catch it when it bounced back. He restored with physical activity.

Keep your relationships supple and let each person choose their own form of restoration energy.

 

Here’s some ideas that might restock the store of your life so you can learn what restores you:

  • Replenish: Do you know the Buddhist phrase chop wood, carry water? It takes wood to heat your meal. It takes water to hydrate your body. Each of these run out and need to be replenished. What are the things that keep you healthy, but you use them up? These are the things that need to be replenished so you can go again.
  • Sort: The act of sorting your sock drawer or untangling your fishing lures to put them away isn’t just so the stuff can get put away. When you sort things physically, you’re also soothing your mind.
  • Make: Whether you need to make a meal or sew a quilt to spruce up your bedroom, making things is restorative. I don’t know if it’s the power of creativity or the turning nothing into something, but making things is sure to restore me to a better frame of mind and give me energy.

Notice how all these things that are restorative also take some energy. That’s why you might need to recover before you can restore.

But when you skip restorative rest, you’re headed into the new week or era of your life without fortifications.

That seems sort of mean to yourself. I vote for the kindness of restoration on a regular basis.

3. The third kind of rest is rejuvenation. Rejuvenation catapults you into the life of your dreams.

Rejuvenation takes energy to begin, but it pays back in big dividends.

And the thing to know about rejuvenation is that it requires a certain amount of energy to launch.

My husband would never consider closet cleaning restorative. It takes too much energy for him. Instead, it’s rejuvenating. So, he needs abundant energy in order to begin. But once he tackles it, he gets a jolt of energy and suddenly has several ideas for new furniture he wants to build.

The thing about rejuvenation is that, although it takes energy to begin it, it returns on that energy like a rocket booster.

Rejuvenation is an energy exchange: you need energy to chase after it, but it returns energy tenfold.

 

If you rejuvenate regularly, you will glow

If you regularly feed yourself rejuvenation your life will light you up. You can expect the following:

  • Excitement: You’ll be engaged instead of bored.
  • Increased Imagination: Because when you feed your imagination it grows exponentially.
  • Follow through: Joy creates energy. When you feed your joy, you’ll notice that tasks that seemed monumental get done in a snap.

 

Be warned

What rejuvenates one person will overwhelm another. My husband rejuvenates and comes back to life by rowing a raft through giant river rapids. That would paralyze me with fear.

If I held my husband back with my fear, however, he’d never get his surge of rejuvenation and resentment could build.

Keep your relationship vital: Find a way for each of you to rejuvenate without overwhelming the other.

This might mean separate paths for a time so you can return to each other refreshed.

Be brave. Make a choice to rejuvenate

It takes courage to rejuvenate. You can’t see anything happening. And neither can anyone else. You look and feel lazy. Boring. There’s no boxes to check at the end of the day.

Rejuvenation happens behind the scenes, just like that team that filled the rocket boosters. It takes research. It can’t be rushed.

Here’s a list of things that rejuvenate me and my clients. Take a look to see what resonates for you.

Stillness

Oddly enough the number one rejuvenator for many people is boredom. When is the last time you held still (not scrolling, not watching) long enough to honestly become bored? To get up because you were ready instead of prying yourself up. One of my favorite things is to wake up, but not get out of bed. To just lay there. My thoughts meander. And slowly I realize I’m ready to put my feet on the ground.

Art

This is my number one rejuvenator. Playing with color and texture refills my tank every time. I don’t even have to make anything. Just sorting colored pencils is sometimes all I need.

Nature

Inhale the oxygen all that green stuff is magically making from the sun’s light. Think about the exchange between you and the trees: You exhale precisely what they need to live.

Rejuvenation is waiting for you in every breath when you can think about it that way. And I do! Sometimes I count the shades of green to appreciate the huge variety of plant life breathing in what’s toxic to me and “exhaling” the oxygen that is my life force.

Physical exertion

If I’m not in dire need of recovery rest, taking a walk helps me reset. There’s something about that movement that jiggles my system and presses the reset button.

Walking daily is an enormous aid to keeping my tank filled. Here’s one catch: when I’m most brave I walk in silence.

This is the most rejuvenating because it scratches the boredom itch too. But I’m not always that brave.

Meditation

What is your form of meditation? Prayer? A mantra? A sitting practice? Hint: don’t ask yourself to do this for a big, long time.

Just a moment is a great place to begin. My clients begin with three breaths. Inhale and fill the back of your body (low, down near your sacrum) with air. Then exhale like you’re blowing through a straw. Three times. Notice. Feel more calm? More centered?

Imagine if you gave that to yourself three times each day. Try linking it to washing your hands.

Adventure

This is the vacation that is a typical picture of rejuvenation. It’s energizing to change up your routine, see something new and expand your experience.

Interestingly, I have many clients report they feel most rejuvenated after they’ve taken an adventure that frightened them just a bit. My hunch is that fear engaged their courage and they realized they’re more resilient than they realized.

Try this relationship habit: 

Notice what kind of rest you need.

Give yourself that rest.

When you allow yourself to rejuvenate, you give yourself the required energy to escape your current circumstances, just like that rocket that can actually escape the earth’s atmosphere.

Think how kind you’ll be to your spouse when you allow yourself the energy refill you need to reach for your dream.

Self-care is relationship-care.

If you’re wondering about your levels of rest, try this:

Copy the following list of activities and write RESTORE or REJUVENATE next to each one. This will help you get clear what activities help you regularly synthesize your life and those that, while requiring energy to begin, will launch you forward.

  • Laundry
  • Go fishing
  • Paint or draw
  • Take a yoga class
  • Build a fence
  • Put a new app on your phone
  • Mow the lawn
  • Plan a vacation
  • Shop for a new sweater

Choose the right kind of rest for you

The only wrong way to rest is to force yourself to rest according to someone else’s rule. Rest is personal, seasonal, and stage-of-life-specific.

Give yourself lots of choices and pick the kind of rest—recovery, restorative, or rejuvenating—that feeds your need.

Try this date night discussion: 

This week, talk with your partner about these 3 types of rest.

What kind of recovery rest do you each value? What feels restorative to you? How about your partner? Finally, talk about what rejuvenates you.

Here’s an example:

Remember that what rejuvenates your partner, may not feel rejuvenating to you.

It helps to understand this because if you feel rejuvenated visiting your family of origin, but this stresses your partner out, you might discuss occasional visits to family where you separate.

That way you can become rejuvenated at a big family gathering and then come home to your partner who has rejuvenated by painting the house.

There’s no right or wrong, OK.

After you’ve talked generally with your partner about rest, go specifically through each type of rest.

 

What allows you to recover?

I am embarrassed about how much TV I like to watch. The judgey voice inside me says, “You’re frying your brain. You’re wasting time.” But when I thought about what truly helps me recover, it is sooo obvious: TV! And I like to watch the same things over and over. I’ve seen the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice probably 15 times.

Recovery rest can feel vulnerable because it can look like sloth. But it’s crucial. So have fun with your partner talking openly about what helps you recover.

 

Next, talk about what helps you restore.

Restorative rest is very individualized. I used to make my husband’s lunch. That felt like a kind thing and I enjoyed doing it. Then I realized he was sort of prickly about it. This actually became a tangle for us.

Then I realized, duh! David likes to make his own lunch because it’s a restorative practice. When we take care of ourselves, we tend that deep well of worthiness. When David made his own lunch, he was confirming for himself: I’m worth caring for. So, I want tasks that help me tend to my health.

 

Finally, discuss with your partner what is rejuvenating for each of you.

Remember, it’s highly individualized. Think of things that excite you. Adventures can be small: try a new food, or they can be big: touring Italy to discover new cuisines.

Notice what rejuvenates your partner. If it’s something that sounds rejuvenating to you as well, enjoy the dreaming and scheming of planning a way to rejuvenate together.

But if what rejuvenates your partner sounds awful to you, discuss instead how you can give each other space to do those rejuvenating activities then come back together later.

I promise your relationship will be better for it.

My husband and I regular take separate vacations. Each of us comes home with a full tank, eager to see the other and we feel even more connected for the sake of taking time on our own.

How about you?

I want to be included in your life. Text me at 970-210-4480 and tell me about the different kinds of rest in your life.

Did you have an aha about rest? How do you and your partner compare when it comes to the different types of rest?

Want to listen to this blog? 

Want to stop arguing and start connecting with your spouse? This FREE e-course will offer you habits to improve your marriage communication so you can smile more and fight less. Sign up to improve marriage communication.

Sign Up to Improve Marriage Communication

Leave a Reply