Recreation Is Not Rest

Body & Wellness

“This post is a wake up call. Not a call to action, but a call to awareness.”

Disclaimer – before I begin – this is not another list or post detailing what you should do instead of – this is not another post telling you how you’re doing it wrong. This post is a wake up call. Not a call to action but a call to awareness. Of realizing, how you do things, how you can be in a way that best serves whoever it is you’re meant to be. This is not me chastising you for being busy. By all means, you do you, love. Just do it with eyes wide open. And do it, knowing that you’ve got choice. That if you don’t want to be that way, you can make subtle shifts to be in a way that feels good, deeply.

What do you do in your downtime? If all the endless self-care memes and ideas of spa days and yoga classes you wish you had time for come to mind – If ‘what downtime?’ is your response – we need to chat.

Recreational activities are not rest. Recreation is not relaxation. We are so obsessed and sold that rest must be attained, given, achieved, bought, experienced through other goods and services, that we don’t have a fucking clue what it is to rest. If Sunday funday and weekend plans are full of you moving between friend time, entertainment and events, or getting the endless list of household tasks done – this is not rest. This is ‘busy’. This is stimulation. And while it may all be endorphin pumping satisfaction, make no mistake – it’s not rest. 

Rest means we slow down, we stop, we go still, we go quiet. Rest is when your body can recover, repair and rejuvenate.


When is the last time you did nothing? Literally nothing. Do those words even equate as legitimate vocabulary?

No, not Netflix binging. No, not scrolling. No, not browsing. No, not organizing. No, not shopping. No, not pampering. No, not working in the garden. No, not going for a walk. No, not playing with the dog. No, not going to that great class. No, not that long coffee date. Those are all great recreational activities. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way saying you shouldn’t do those things you enjoy. YOU most definitely are worthy of enjoying your free time. It’s just not downtime. 

What I’m addressing is our deeply manipulated psyche, our deeply fried nervous systems, our now innate need to be doing something to feel full, relevant, productive and like we’re not missing something. So little time, you only live once, only one life to live, what if tomorrow never comes, not enough hours in the day, self deprecating desire to do it all because, well, isn’t that we’re supposed to do?! Aren’t we supposed to make the most of this precious time?! God, just writing that paragraph sent my nervous system and pulse into palpitating and jittery anxiousness.  

With all the things you NEED, WANT and DESIRE being told to you through all the consumption driven avenues beating you over the head 24/7, it’s hard not to buy into it all. It’s hard not to want it all. It’s hard not to think we need to DO.IT. ALL. Or BE.IT.ALL. – lest we risk coming up short. 

I know this, because I’ve lived it, breathed it, embodied it for endless years. I’ve had my days planned out by the half hour with extreme efficiency. I CAN DEFINITELY GET SICK SATISFACTION from it all. That proud feeling that you’ve accomplished so much – you’ve been so productive. Having that ‘mine is bigger than yours’ conversation as you all talk about and compare how busy and stressed out you all are as you face plant on the bed like you did coming home from a night of hard drinking – one shoe still on -back in university. You know what it feels like – or at last have friends who do. 

But, I don’t know how to change it you say? I don’t know how I can do anything differently? I get it. It’s overwhelming. It’s a rat race. It’s never ending. There’s always something. And it’s not a quick fix. It’s not a reset button. It’s a process. Ugh. No pill for it, I know. How annoying. 

It’s starting where you are. Taking inventory. Checking in. It’s committing to observation – you know that shitty looking under the bed to see that the monster isn’t there. Then checking the closet, then looking out that scary open window. All so you can rest easy. And doing it again and again until you realize the monster is only inside your head. Hopefully. 

I can’t tell you what that looks like for you, what obligations are non-negotiable and what can be let go of in your life. I can’t tell you what you’re doing that’s too much, overloading, overwhelming or distracting you from finding rest. I can’t tell you how to change it. I could offer opportunities of ideas and my own experience. And it may not be at all relatable for you.

What I CAN do is take a big deep sigh of compassion with and for you. Because I don’t have it all figured out and I have recurrent moments of realizing I’ve taken on too much and through years of practice can right my track to alignment and balance with a few learned, seasoned techniques. That work FOR.ME.

What I CAN do is offer you the invitation to explore and experiment with re-acquainting yourself with what REST & RELAXATION feeeeel like. To entertain the idea that you, your body, your mind do know somewhere deep down what it is to have downtime. To make time for nothing. To allow yourself to squirm in your skin as your body and adrenaline fight the addicting urge to keep busy. Because that shit is real. Or – to say ‘meh’ and keep going your merry way. Either way – you reflected – you considered and you chose what’s right for you. That’s showing up. And that’s something.

From The Movement Lifestyle Journal | Summer ’20 Issue Written by Erika Linae Nimry Creator & Lead Facilitator of The Movement

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