Rest and Relaxation

From Almost an Author:

As I write this post, soldiers from a local Army base are departing for a time of R&R and to spend time with their friends and family over the Christmas holiday. If you are active duty or a veteran of our military, thank you for your service. There is a special joy we experience during Christmas, despite the chaos going on in the world around us.

We understand that at Christmas we need to slow down and enjoy the little things in life like conversations with friends. Or simply being still and doing nothing other than enjoying being in the company of our loved ones.

. . . .

A recent study used shows how people’s stress levels increase during the holidays. I learned after my accident just how important rest is to the ebb and flow of life.

I learned in rehabilitation after my accident that stress and not getting enough rest can damage our brains. That is why I protect my downtime and sleep time.

Rest isn’t limited to sleep. It’s a change of pace and change of our routines or habits. Rest helps us keep our lives from becoming stagnant or overbearing. We all need to learn to practice the art of resting and relaxation.


The slang term, “R&R” has been used in the armed forces for decades and is short for, “rest and recuperation, rest and relaxation, or rest and rehabilitation.” The term applies to a type of leave granted to personnel which allows them to return home to visit their family.

The military understands the importance and need of soldiers having free time to rest and recharge from their service to the country. The stress of serving our country and being away from loved ones can be depressing, stressful, and lonely for our servicemen and women.

. . . .

Now my younger brother is preparing to retire from the Army after 20 years, next month he will have a total shoulder replacement before his wife gives birth to their first child next year. He also suffers from PTSD after serving three tours overseas.

His go-to stress release is long-distance running as an ultra-marathoner. Again, rest doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping; R&R focuses on a change of pace and doing what we enjoy the most. Regardless of our vocation in life, life can become overbearing or monotonous, especially for us writers.

. . . .

The writer’s life can be just as hectic and restless as a soldier’s life. Writers are always writing, even when not at a desk or computer. Our minds are constantly thinking of new ideas or ways to improve and edit what we have already written.

Burnout usually develops when we fail to take breaks or get enough rest. Writer’s block occurs when we overthink. Psychologically, our minds lock down when we push them too hard .

We resist slowing down and resting for many reasons: fear, perfectionism, self-criticism, and external pressure. Overworked minds perform less efficiently, just like an exhausted body does. Below are four reasons writers need to get more rest from

  1. Become better writers
  2. Develop more ideas
  3. Understand who we are
  4. Curate and create material to write about.

Let me clarify, resting doesn’t mean being lazy or unproductive. Rest is simply a change of pace to help refuel our creative juices and give our minds and break. It helps our bodies relax and recover from the stress of the writer’s life.  It gives our brains time to slow down and refocus.


I have already explained how hard it can be for someone with a brain injury to stay focused, even perfectly healthy people can have difficulty focusing if they fail to get enough rest.

Distractions are anything that inhibits our ability to focus, if we fail to get enough rest, our attention spans are inhibited and we are more easily distracted.

And we all know how easily people are distracted today thanks to technology. The human brain can only process so much information at any time. If our minds are not working at 100%, our processing abilities will not be 100%. The military understands that a rested soldier is a more capable soldier.

A rested writer is a more productive writer in the long run. Our brains are the CPU for our nervous systems. The better we take care of our brains, the better our performance will be, will be able to focus better. Below are some tips on how to improve our focus.

  • Minimize distractions
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat better
  • Meditation
  • Take regular breaks

Link to the rest at Almost an Author

10 thoughts on “Rest and Relaxation”

      • I’m not for censorship either. If the writer were to understand military reality, I think he would edit that sentence is all I’m saying. Not to mention that writing is only as hectic or restless as you allow your critical mind to let it be.

  1. “The writer’s life can be just as hectic and restless as a soldier’s life.”

    Wow. Just wow. I mean, wow. Or as any soldier, sailor, Marine or Coast Guardsman who has served in a hostile environment might say when among those brothers and sisters who will understand his or her sentiment, “f*****g wow.”

    And yes, after visiting the site of the OP, I feel bad for the author that he suffered a truly terrible car accident and as a direct result is suffering the effects of a traumatic brain injury. I can only hope that’s why he wrote “can” instead of “could never possibly” in the quote above.

    I also understand that my comment, ironically enough, will be viewed as “insensitive.” To which I can only add another “wow.”

    • In fairness, if the writer in question were someone like, say, Ernie Pyle, who actually got killed on Okinawa in 1945, that statement might not be farfetched.

      But otherwise–yeah, no.

      • Thumbs-up. It also isn’t far-fetched for anyone who has engaged-in or even witnessed (first-hand) combat and is a writer. But then, I doubt any of those folks would have made such a comparison in the first place.

        Also, I intended to add “Airman” to the list of armed services branches in my comment.

  2. You cannot rest from chronic illness and disability; you can only endure.

    It is estimated that around 20% of people have a significant disability; rules meant for ‘healthy’ or ‘able-bodied’ people leave an awful lot of people out.

    And those people may have some of the more powerful stories.

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