Painting of a sleeping child by Bernardo StrozziRest. Who wouldn't like a good rest sometimes. At night, we go to bed to rest our bodies and our minds in a complex activity known as sleep. Even though it doesn't sound complex, it is. Scientists still don't fully understand rest and sleep and continue to study it. When we are sleeping, we often dream, which is another complex, poorly understood aspect of rest. Some dreams are pleasant. Some are nightmares. Others are neither pleasant or unpleasant, they just are.

It is interesting to note that if you are dreaming, your eyes move rapidly. This stage of sleep is called REM, for rapid eye movement. And yet, it is believed that our eyes are not seeing anything. In fact, how could they be seeing anything? Usually we humans sleep in the dark, and the darker it is the better we sleep. So how could our eyes be seeing anything. More likely, our subconscious is creating images in our brains, and our eyes just naturally try to follow those images and react to them.

Rest does not necessarily involve sleep. Sometimes, our brains and bodies need a rest from the everyday stresses of life. We may take a vacation or a long weekend. A time to get away from the things that make us tired mentally. 

Some people cannot rest or do not want to. They are unable to set aside the things that tire most people, or some are so driven that they cannot rest. Sometimes we call them workaholics. Sometimes we call them obsessed. Sometimes, people say I fit into this category. When I've been up until four am working on a novel, I tend to agree. 

Some kinds of rest are just plain and simple relaxation. You sit around the fire and warm your bones and relax. Go out fishing and relax. Get your mind off work and worldly troubles. There are few things in life that can't be solved by a week in a boat with a cooler of beer and enough bait that if you don't catch any fish, you could always cook up a batch of minnow soup. If you need the recipe, you've never gone off alone without any food and planned to rely on what you catch.

One problem with rest, is that after you have rested, its time to go back to work. Even if you work at home, at your own pace and your business or freelancing or whatever, there is always work to be done.

The antonym of rest then, must be work. Because if we're not working, we are probably resting. 

What do you do to rest. Do you take time to relax and get a load off your feet? Or are you the obsessive workaholic who can't stay away for more than a few hours?

Photo Credit: Painting- Sleeping Child Bernardo Strozzi via Wikimedia Commons.