I’ve always been a big fan of rest stops on journey’s that require travel on a highway. They may not be the cleanest, but they do give me the opportunity to stretch my legs, get some fuel (for me and my car), and use the restroom. The fresh air, the fuel, and the stopping action always leaves me feeling energized, invigorated, and ready to continue on.
It recently dawned on me that rest stops are not just vital for road trips and highway travel, but for life – which takes the “life is a journey, enjoy the ride” metaphor a step farther.
On the highway, rest areas are strategically placed. Someone’s job was to dot the highway with relaxation hubs every several miles! While in our lives, besides for sleep, our days don’t come built in rest stops. If we want a break, we have to consciously decide to take one.
Here are some suggestions:
Create your own rest stop: Give yourself an opportunity to stop. And do nothing. Or do one thing! And let that be a thing that you enjoy. This doesn’t have to be a huge deal or take a lot of time. You can think about taking a simple one-minute brake from technology, listening a track of classical music, taking a walk around the block, lighting a candle…
Know when to take a rest stop: The best rest stops are the ones we take before we realize we need one. So take them while your feeling great! The ones that help us refuel, and prevent burnout.
Recommended spots for stops:
Wake up stop: Before I even start on my journey, I enjoy this stop. It gives me a chance to enter my day in a good frame of mind. I like to use this time to practice gratitude, and wake up saying thank you.
Meal stop: I like to try to store my phone (and any other technology) during this stop. Here, I enjoy stopping and checking in with myself (if I’m eating alone) and with those I am sharing my meal with. I have found that this practice allows for slower, more mindful eating while nurturing the bonds of those around the table.
Nap Stop: A little reminder that naps are not just beneficial for children! A quick power nap can work wonders, as can a long delicious nap, schedule permitting.
Bathroom Stop: This may sound silly but stopping, taking a few deep breaths, and releasing my jaw and relaxing my shoulders here has been a key for me on my most hectic days.
Bedtime Stop: Time to put the say away. I like to take a moment here to accept everything just as it is. And with that prepare for the grand rest stop that is built into our days.
Breathe alarms: This requires one to set alarms for random times throughout the day, for self check ins. And when the alarm rings, ask yourself, – How’s it going? How do I feel? What’s going on in my body? What’s going on around me?
I’ve found that productivity coupled with pauses or “rest stops” throughout the day make for a satisfying and meaningful days. These pauses help put things in perspective, and although at the moment, it may feel like there is no time to stop, taking the time to stop will only enhance the “going” that comes right after it.