Passive rest is when you disconnect from giving energy out and chill out (we discussed this last week).

Active rest is when you engage with an activity that pulls you out of your everyday worries and stresses and absorbs you so completely that stress melts away, recharging you by stealth. Active rest is really interesting because it's so highly individual. Passive rest is more generic (who doesn't like a massage?) However one person's relaxing active rest is just as likely to be someone else's most stress-inducing nightmare.

Active rest is the sort of recharging rest that comes in the form of play, it's the time when you feel completely engaged in the flow of what you are doing. That your mind is completely absorbed in what you are doing in that moment, that all the everyday worries are gone as you lose yourself in what is playful or you. It's interesting as so many adults have completely disconnected from what that is for them and in their life at all. When we have no active rest practices we are quick to feel overwhelmed, tired, frazzled.

Embracing active rest is just a question of figuring out what it looks like for you, and then allowing yourself to have it, guilt-free, as an essential that underpins a happy healthy and balanced you. This aspect of rest is important. It recharges your spirit and makes you feel alive. It's fun.


It might be ballroom dancing, knitting, diving, fishing, yoga, gardening, baking, mosaicking, tramping, playing pool...

What completely absorbs you? What pulls your attention to the present? What feels like play for you? What feels like time just disappears when you are doing it? When do the hours race by? What do you look forward to?

• I love it when I am _____________________________________________
• I find__________________________________ completely absorbing
• Play for me is ___________________________________________________
• I lose myself when I am _______________________________________
• I forget the time when I am___________________________________
• ________________________________is fun.

If you struggle with this exercise - and many people do if life has got so busy with responsibilities that they have forgotten what fun and play feels like, (although they could absolutely name what fun is for their loved ones) - try these questions:

• When I was a child I loved to_________________________________
• When I was little I spent hours _______________________________
• My favourite Christmas present as a child was _________________
• As a kid my favourite pastime was _____________________________

Try to disconnect to your natural sources of fun and play by connecting with the young and playful you for ideas.

Then make a commitment to yourself to honour some consciously chosen moments of active rest in 2014:
1: I find _______actively absorbing, playful and recharging, I commit to this_____daily/weekly/monthly______, guilt-free.
2: I find _______actively absorbing, playful and recharging, I commit to this_____daily/weekly/monthly______, guilt-free.
3: I find _______actively absorbing, playful and recharging, I commit to this_____daily/weekly/monthly______, guilt-free.

Note: this probably will not look like anyone else's idea of fun or a good time. That's completely okay. However niche it is, whatever your idea of play, fun and active rest is perfect. Start honouring the commitment you have made to yourself above and make a call, or book a time in your diary, or whatever you need to do to integrate an active rest session into your life this week. Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it.

Louise is a life coach, author and corporate escapee. Visit for more.