You’ve heard of IQ, and probably EQ (emotional quotient), too. But what about RQ? How’s your Relaxation Quotient these days? Are you a tightrope, stretched taut between family, work, home, and friendships? Does it take a near-miracle to get everything done and get to bed in time for a good night’s rest?
If you’re feeling a little (or a lot stretched) and you need refreshment for the important roles you fill, read on.
- To people who love you. Really listen to them. Don’t glaze over that “I love you” from your kids, that “Thank you” from your spouse, that “I miss you” from your sister.
- To Scripture out loud. Read it out loud in your car before work or before bed. Or have someone else read it to you (I use the Daily Bible app for this).
- To music that helps you cry. Crying is one of the most healthy ways we can deal with stress, and, as women in the post-Gloria-Steinem era, it’s hard to let ourselves do it. A few good songs can help with that.
- To podcasts that encourage you to think and dream and grow. If a TED talk doesn’t snap you out of the blahs, grab a podcast from an inspiring speaker or pastor to get unstuck and dreaming again.
- To nothing. Especially if you have kids. Closets are nice for this. So are cars in the garage with the lights off so nobody can find you. Just sayin!
- At nature. In particular, make it your job to see light and what it does out there in the world. The shimmer, the shadows, the way it finds a way through anything.
- At your kids. Watch them play. Really watch, without being on the way to an appointment or switching loads of laundry.
- At your husband. Notice his face, what the years have added… maybe taken, too. Look in his eyes and ask God to show you new things about this one you love.
- At your house. Not the parts you hate, but the ones you love. I love sitting in my living room with a book on this one cushion on my couch. I love the rich-colored paint on my bedroom walls. What’s your favorite place at home?
- Your morning coffee. Don’t just chug it… linger a little with the aroma. You know they use coffee beans to refresh your sense of smell in a perfume shop, right? (Ok, if you’re a mom, maybe don’t linger on this one… it might make you find a smell you don’t want to know about…)
- Your lotion or body wash. You use every day, but do you experience it, too? Breathe in the scent as the water pours warm on shoulders, or as you take care of dry elbows or hands. Let yourself enjoy it.
- Your clean laundry. You sort, stain-remove, wash and fold it all, but do you sink your face in the soft, warm clothes and breathe in that great clean-laundry smell? Laundry is at least 50% less annoying after that!
- Your kids. Feel their baby soft hair, velvet skin. Rub their feet. Kids love a good foot massage just like we do. And that touch connection can become a favorite bedtime routine (it is in our house!)
- Fabrics. Swish your hands through the clothes in your closet. Brush your hand across that favorite throw as you snuggle up for a movie tonight. Get down to those skivvies at bedtime and feel soft sheets wrapped around your skin.
- Nature. Feel the different textures – the rough, the bumpy, the fuzzy, the smooth, the dewey, and the feathery. The more you feel, the more refreshed with awe you’ll be at the (re)discovery of this beauty, design and elegance around us all.
If variety is the spice of life, refreshment is the re-engaging of life’s spiciness. The noticing of not just the struggles and tedium around us, but the richness and goodness as well.
Refreshment begins with practicing gratitude for gifts, people, and situations, and continues as we let ourselves fully be present each moment. To listen, see, touch and smell — to really experience — the world God’s given.
May true refreshing pour over you today, friend!