Why Do I Still Feel Restless After “Resting” At Home From A Busy Day?

After a hard day, we come home eager to seek refuge. We ultimately desire a time to rest and recharge for next day’s grind. However, do we actually rest or are we just escaping? Often times, after a hectic day, we are desperate to shut down. We come home to plop ourselves in front of the T.V, phone, or video game and enter into this vegetative state. But what happens when we come out of this vegetative state? Do we feel refreshed, energized, and ready for our next task? Or do we feel temporarily relieved but still tired, irritable, and anxious? So how can we truly rest? Here are 4 tips to implement purposeful rest and gain true refreshment for the next task.

1. Do not check out!

Resist the urge to engage in mindless activities. Mindless activities do not lead to refreshment or rest. It is a pause button from the grind, but nothing changes once you hit play. Our minds need activities to soothe rather than to distract. I know there is burning desire to plop yourself onto the comfy couch and click on Netflix, but don’t do it!

2. Participate in hobbies you enjoy.

It is important to engage in activities that will spark your interest rather than to purely entertain. When we are only entertained, our minds shut down which does not help to process or relax the constant crunching we do during the workday. Any activities that will revive you or help sort out your hectic day such as sports, art, cooking, board games, journaling etc. will help your mind tap into leisure instead of work. If you do not know what your hobby is, then experiment or re-engage in old activities you used to enjoy. These activities may require more effort in the beginning, but the end result will leave you feeling recharged for the next day.

3. Plan time to participate.

Set a time aside every week to engage in your hobby. It is very difficult to motivate yourself to engage if you had no intention in the first place. It is much easier to follow through on your restful activity when it is part of your weekly routine. In addition, the time you set out for the activity does not have to be all-consuming. We often push back purposeful rest because we believe we do not have time to spare. However, everyone has at least 15-20 minutes to spare one day a week. Choose an activity that is still enjoyable but can be completed in a shorter time frame.

4.  Do not go overboard!

As important as it is to engage in leisurely activities it is also important to not take on too much. Do not line yourself up with multiple activities, clubs, or people beyond what you can handle. Pace yourself and be attentive to what is actually helping or hurting you. For example, if joining 2-3 intramural sports teams is causing you to feel more worrisome and restless throughout your work week then cut back.

In today’s society, we have defined rest as the complete and utter absence of work. Yet, we find ourselves feeling the same or worse after our choice of mindless activity. It is important to engage our minds in leisure then to disengage altogether. Stimulating our minds into areas that will refresh us will do much more for our overall attitude, behavior, and outlook.

Colleen headshotAbout Colleen: Colleen values the importance of a comfortable and non-judgmental atmosphere. At the heart of her work, she seeks to create a safe environment in which clients can feel at ease while working through life’s difficulties. Her specialty is working with women and adolescents struggling with anger management, trauma, and substance abuse problems. She also enjoys assisting those facing multicultural or racial issues. She is dedicated to equipping clients with practical skills to better manage and reduce symptoms such as anger outbursts, anxiety, or restlessness. Ultimately, her goal is to help clients uncover the source of their distress so that they can begin to heal. See Colleen’s full bio.