I was in a beautiful wedding recently. I came home exhausted and threw my bridesmaid dress on the back of a shelf downstairs, not ready to deal with laundry just yet.
So many necessary things in my life don’t get done. I feel like I just don’t have the time. But the truth of the matter is, “not having time” is a very vague excuse. Time is what we make it. So the real core issue is I just don’t always have the energy.
At the time I’m writing this, the bridesmaid dress is still there. Not because I forgot about it–I’ve walked past it every day. Not because I’m horrendously busy–I’m not working currently while I wait for my neck to heal. Not because it would take a long time to figure out what to do with it. I don’t really have a good excuse. Taking care of it just seemed really hard. So I haven’t done anything yet.
This happens way too often. I get dehydrated because my water bottle needs washed and I’m too lazy to do it. My textbook gets rained on because after I was done studying outside, it was too hard to walk it inside. I stay up way too late because I have to brush my teeth before climbing into bed, and that two-minute process is just too much.
It’s easy to claim I’m simply too busy. But in reality, when I’m feeling exhausted, it’s not that I have less time, it’s just that I find other things to do to spend my time. I scroll through Facebook. I stare out the window. I get in a childish argument with my little brother. I waste my time doing things I regret. Which leaves me feeling even more exhausted and even shorter on time. It’s a ruthless cycle. I need to stop.
Recently I got on a friend for watching TV instead of cleaning out his fridge. Even though he first said he didn’t have the time, upon thinking it through, he instead admitted to not having the energy. And then he hit the nail on the head. “I am working to make the things I need to do easier.”
While it’s 100% acceptable to feel exhausted and in need of a break, I want to make the claim that there are ways to make healthy things a break as well–which will ultimately leave you more ready for what’s next.
Let me suggest a handful of ways to rest and be productive simultaneously.
- List a handful of simple hobbies you enjoy doing and use that as your go-to when you’re tired. When I’m not “feeling it,” I’ve learned I can sit down at the piano and find great rejuvenation in playing for a while. It’s taking a break from life, but also doing something useful (improving my skills). Write in a journal. Take a walk. Call a friend (even put down names on this list). Sketch. Bake. Write down things you’re thankful for. When I waste 15 minutes on Facebook, I normally feel quite worse after the episode is done. But when I spend 15 minutes relaxing into a hobby, I find myself much more energized.
- Do the thinking part in advance. Making a well-rounded dinner can be intimidating… and hence can be swept to the side. But if on my lunch break I have a plan for what I’m cooking when I get home, getting started on it doesn’t take half as much effort. Or if I know the fridge needs cleaned out and I schedule a time for it, I won’t have to make that decision later–I’ll just have to follow through.
- Put the really small things on your to-do list. If I put a checkbox next to the item “put away bridesmaid dress,” putting the dress away suddenly becomes a recognizable accomplishment. And when I have to decide between putting away the dress or starting dinner, my procrastination technique will be accomplishing tasks as well 😉
We all get exhausted. I’m not going to deny that. Or even avoid that, honestly. However, I am convinced that the desire to spend time doing mindless things in an attempt to rest mostly creates a rough downward spiral.
Hence, I suggest that when we get exhausted, the best way to find our energy is to rest by being productive. After all, I do desire to redeem my time, even when I’m exhausted–that’s what makes me feel proud of who I am and what I’m living for.
Thoughts? Is this idea completely out in left field? What are productive ways that you “rest”? Comment below!