After a recent surgery, my doctor prescribed resting and explicit directions to avoid bending my new prosthetic hip beyond 90 degrees. This precaution required the use of several medical aids including a grabber, a six-inch foam cushion and a raised toilet seat.
I was fine affixing my cushion to my backpack while on crutches, but BYOTS (Bring Your Own Toilet Seat) I could not. Using a raised toilet seat certainly limited my outings.
Although my trips were limited, I still found it challenging to take it easy.
Probably the greatest challenge of hip-replacement is that you feel pretty good afterwards — at least compared to the pre-surgery pain. Yes, there’s the localized pain of the incision and staples; but I welcomed the intensity of the temporary pain replacing the nagging, enduring, sleeplessness caused by severe advanced osteoarthritis.
Once accused of needing to be “busy”, I am indeed a chronic doer. Whether dishes in the sink, laundry in the hamper or email responses, I find it difficult to rest when things need to be done. Occasionally arriving late, but usually just on time, I often unnecessarily delay myself by trying to accomplish just one more thing.
Unfortunately, after my second hip-replacement, I injured myself — twice — trying to do too much too soon.
After these setbacks, I received a marvelous gift from my sweetheart.
When I asked him what he was doing horizontal on the sofa, he replied, “resting.”
The gift of words
Resting? Really? How can anyone rest when there are dishes nagging and socks stinking?
But he could. And he does. And he also has excellent time-management skills.
He’s helped me understand the art of enjoying down time. Even if it is prescribed by your doctor — especially when it is prescribed by your doctor.
So, to help you buck the Puritanical work ethic and curtail feelings of guilt for relaxing, I offer you active verbs to describe your apparent inactivity.
When tired, ill, injured or post-op, try these resting verbs…
Resting verbs for intellectual situations…
Resting verbs for school…
Resting verbs for work…
Verbs for stillness…
- Practicing mindfulness
Verbs for feeling the effects of aging…
- Combating mental decline
- Memorizing new facts
- Practicing mental acuity
- Remembering names and dates
For feeling carefree…
For feeling sexy…
For feeling impish or antagonistic…
For feeling proud…
For feeling green…
- Conserving energy
- Recycling cognition
- Reducing consumption
For feeling full…
For uncertainty of what you need…
- Mind Wandering
- Zoning out
According to the Association for Psychological Science’s summary of a survey conducted by Professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, not all rest is idleness. The paper, Rest Is Not Idleness: Reflection Is Critical for Development and Well-Being, indicates that while some people perceive rest as unproductive time, the researchers suggest that reflection is essential for learning. It enables us to learn from past experiences and consider the effect of our experiences on future outcomes. Rest and reflection allow us to better understand ourselves, to grow and to learn.
If you’re like me, prone to guilt for doing nothing or chastising yourself for being lazy, perhaps these words can serve as a gift to you. Or perhaps they can spur your creativity to think of a few other verbs. There is indeed an art to actively describing your state of apparent inactivity.