Rest. That one little word that is so simple yet often feels so far out of our grasp.

We often think of rest as doing as little as possible, like lounging around on the couch or watching television. Which is why we may often feel we never just ‘rest’.

It’s time to redefine what we consider rest to be. And in the process, hopefully help you to truly rest and recharge.

Passive vs Active Recovery
There are two types of rest and recovery – passive and active.

Passive recovery is when you’re kicking back doing nothing – having a lie down, watching television, sitting out in the sun. The problem is, when we’re passively resting we’re often not fully engaged in what we’re doing. Our mind is still elsewhere. Maybe glued to our phone. So we’re not truly resting and recharging.

You may be familiar with the term active recovery from the fitness industry. And you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m referring to recovery from a high intensity workout session at the gym. By all means, I encourage maintaining a good exercise routine.

But in this case, we’re taking this term and applying it to our whole body and mind.

Here’s the twist…

This form of active recovery doesn’t need to be physical. But it does require you to be fully present in the moment to the point where you immerse yourself so fully that you lose track of time (seems like a luxury, I know!).

It’s about being in flow, which is also known as being in the zone.  Flow is when you’re completely engrossed in what you’re doing, you’re enjoying what you’re doing, you’re completely lost in the moment. You complete the experience feeling refreshed and ready to take on the new week ahead.

There are many and varied ways of practicing active recovery: crafting, music, gardening, a game of tennis, tinkering in the shed, bushwalking, playing with your children, grandchildren or pets, a visit to the beach. Whatever takes your fancy!

Action Steps

So this long weekend, I invite you to incorporate some active recovery into your life. To do this, try to ensure the activities you choose have the following traits…

1.    You love it – by doing something you love, you’re more likely to become immersed in the experience.

2.    It fully absorbs your attention so you lose track of time – choose activities that free your mind from the everyday tasks and chores that beckon.

3.    The experience refreshes you both mentally and emotionally – after all, this is the result we are after!

What active recovery activities could you do this weekend?

Adele Sinclair is a wellness coach and trainer who focuses on mental wellbeing at work. She has a background in management and experienced job burnout twice as a result of ongoing work stress. If you liked this article, you'll love Adele's coaching programs to help you with strategies for a great worklife.