It's Time To Rethink Your Free Time

Doing Nothing Is Overrated.

I don’t know about you, but after a stressful day at work, coming home and rewatching The Office for the 7th time sounds pretty good. Or even better, canceling all my plans, ordering take out, and then binging The Office.

And nothing against a truly five-star tv show, but when we repeat this pattern for weeks on end we might find ourselves thinking ...why?

That’s a really great question to ask.

distractions versus rest

Why do we default to these types of activities in the first place?

For most of us, I think the answer is pretty straightforward: we’re tired, we’re stressed, or we want to avoid thinking about something that’s hard to process.

So like moths to the flame, we’re drawn to the blue lights of another neverending scroll through social media, the last 20 push notifications from our news outlet of choice (why?!), or binge-watching until our eyes start to cry from the strain because that’s supposed to be the salve to help us “decompress” and “rest.”

But the problem is, it’s not. When it’s all said and done, we don’t actually feel better.

These activities might do a decent job of distracting us from our frustrations, but in the end, they haven’t helped us genuinely rest.

This confusion between distraction and truly taking care of ourselves is often rooted in our overstimulation and detachment from what we want out of life.

And this isn’t something you have to convince anyone about. We all feel these habits we’ve unintentionally taught ourselves aren’t making us happy, and those feelings are only reinforced by a torrent of studies that prove they aren’t.

The next important question to ask ourselves then is why don’t these distractions give us rest?

engaged or disengaged

It turns out the answer is pretty simple. We call distractions ‘distractions’ because their entire purpose is to disengage our brains. Stressed about work? Instagram will take your mind off of it. In doing so, your brain disengages and slips into a lower functioning state–and that’s okay.

In fact, our brains are designed to do this to save calories and keep you alive. It’s just not helpful in making us feel better about a situation or feeling fulfilled, and it doesn’t actually fix anything. In other words, work will still be stressful once your brain has reengaged.

To feel rested your brain has to put in some serious work. It has to be engaged.

When our brains are engaged, we can be intentional, thoughtful, and creative while pursuing the things that matter to us most. Things like friendships, marriages, enjoying nature, having a better understanding of ourselves and the world or exploring a subject we love.

All of these scenarios require work to make happen. Trips take planning, exploration, or early mornings. Great conversations with friends require initiative, vulnerability, and intentionality with your schedule. Hobbies take thought, research, and concentration.

But it’s things like this that give us a sense of purpose, fulfillment–and ultimately–rest.

free time doesn’t have to be wasted time

We all want rest, but the common things we reach for to find it don’t leave us feeling any more rested.

That’s really what we’re all about. We help people redefine what rest looks like in their life, by shifting the focus away from distractions and putting the emphasis where it belongs, on the parts of life we care about most.

Your free time doesn’t have to be wasted time, it can be used as a tool to truly take care of yourself and pursue that which matters most.

That’s what it means to rest well.

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