Have you ever had a hard week at work (or just life, really)? It drains you and if you don’t get a break the next week can just drag on. You feel tired and even when you can get the needed sleep in, you just can’t seem to get back to your old self. I find that being overwhelmed with problems is the hardest thing to come out of on top. This has happened to me this week. No matter what I do, even a good night’s sleep hasn’t brought me back. What I have realized is that getting the rest you need isn’t just for each night. You need to have some time off to just recuperate. This can take on many forms depending on what type of person you are and what you like to do.
I have learned over the years that you really have to be picky about what you do in these times. It’s necessary that you choose something that you like to do but you have to remember that just because you like it, it will not automatically help the situation. I try to choose an activity that requires just the right amount of concentration. A balance between freeing your mind to think and occupying your thoughts or distracting yourself. This balance is actually really tough to find. For example, I love to play Minecraft but if I do that I can just put my fingers into autopilot and free my mind to think of other things. This is great when I have a problem to think on but if I have been having a hard time, this tends to make me overthink and I can spiral down all the worst paths of thought. On the other end, if I try to read a particularly engaging book, it has the opposite effect. I don’t think about my problems at all and I don’t feel better when I return to the “real world.” One of the activities that provides me a balance is listening to some of my favorite music. I have an album that I can play constantly and I never get bored of it. When I am listening to music, I can either immerse myself in it or let it become the background. I get to choose how much I want to think and how much I want to listen. This is the kind of balance that can make you feel rested. If you get to choose how much to engage, you tend to automatically choose the right level of distraction.
I encourage you to find an activity that you can do that fits these criteria:
- You enjoy the activity.
- You can let it occupy most of your mind.
- You can put your mind on automatic and free some thought for your current problems.
- The activity has minimal prep time. (This is so you can access it whenever. Traveling the world, for instance is not a good idea for this type of activity.)
Listening to music fits this bill for me. If you find something that works for you hold on to it. The rest and relaxation you get from it is worth it. We all get overwhelmed and we all need to just step back for a bit. Try it out, I think you’ll like it.