One by one, my roommates and I draped our towels over the vacant lifeguard stand and took off our shoes — ready to run into the dark, beckoning waters of Lake Calhoun. I lingered behind, slowly wading inch-by-inch into the placid body of bliss.
Gradually, we breaststroked, freestyled and floated toward the “swimming area” buoys, with the lights of Minneapolis and the half moon illuminating the way. Coming from a house that lacks air conditioning, nothing could have tasted sweeter in that moment.
It was the perfect way to refresh — it was exactly what all of us needed to hit the reset button on our already stressful weeks. As I blew bubbles softly through my nose and mouth, I pictured my stress fading into the distance. I felt lighter …. freer. It made me wonder why I don’t make time to do refreshing things like this more often. And then I remembered the hindrance of these moments: fatigue.
It’s so easy to go to sleep, or put things off when we are overwhelmed, tired and hard-pressed for time … Sometimes, the motivation to get off the couch and do something that will make us feel better isn’t there.
Maybe you don’t need to get off the couch. Maybe a few breaths is all it takes for you to hit refresh. But if that’s not enough, and the world seems too big or scary to handle, I encourage you to muster the will to do something that will breathe life into your veins and change your state of mind.
Read a book. Play a game. Dance in your living room. Pick up an instrument. Cook a fun recipe. Visit your local lake, river or pool. Take a hike. Talk to a stranger about life. Journal. Get outdoors. Watch your favorite sitcom. Snuggle with your pets. Or (fill in the blank).
Whatever it is — whatever you do — the key to refreshment is to not think about anything outside of that moment. Don’t worry about your to-do list, obligations, struggles or heartbreak and try to focus on the joyful side of life. That’s where the true beauty lies.