Thursday, February 9, 2017

Welcoming Rest: Saying Yes to Slowing Down

It feels as if the plague has hit my small town.  School is out today and tomorrow leading to the weekend, allowing us a four-day buffer to kill off all these germs that are sidelining people left and right. The Naaktgeboren family is currently in quarantine.

Days like today are a good reminder. When life seems to be going non-stop and I forget the importance of taking breaks, sickness swoops in or the weather sidelines plans.  Sometimes we just need to slow down and let the world continue without us for a few minutes, an hour, a day, or even a long weekend.  Life says hurry up, but there are a multitude of reasons to allow yourself to rest.  Rest creates healthy minds and healthy bodies. 

Genesis 2:2-3 tells us that our perfect, wise God rested. He created all things, found that it was all good, and on the seventh day he rested.  In Mark 6:30-31, Jesus encourages his hardworking disciples to get away and rest. And there’s a reason why God commanded his chosen people to observe the Sabbath.  Hard work is balanced by rest.

Rest is beneficial. We should welcome it.

Do something easy.
Resting sometimes means giving our brains a break from working too hard. I love to sit on the couch under a blanket and watch a movie or read a book.  It’s nice to escape the present and dive into a different world for a while. 

Do something with intention.
Some people like to rest by doing things that bring them joy.  I have friends who unwind by cooking a meal, baking some bread or sweets, crocheting, writing, or working in their garden.  For me, watching a show while I fold laundry is actually relaxing.  I’m technically doing a chore, but the way I’m doing it counts as resting. Double win.

Invite the quiet.
I have a people-focused job, and while I love it, sometimes I just need to be by myself.  Reading a book or listening to one of my calmer playlists usually helps.  If it’s been a particularly trying day I might take a very rare, but very coveted nap.  This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it is just what I need to feel refreshed.

Turn off the world.
A few years ago, I made the decision to turn off the work email notifications that were constantly bombarding me from my phone.  Every time it would ding, I could feel my stress levels rising.  One of the best choices I have made is to keep work at work and not let it interrupt my life outside of school.  Creating this separation has made my home life more peaceful and has allowed my home to be a better place of rest.

For some people, turning off the world might mean taking a break from the news or social media.  In recent months, the information coming from these sources has been saturated in negativity. Negativity is stressful, not restful.  If you feel this stress, it may be time to take a sabbatical.

Invite some snuggle time.
Cuddling up on the couch is pretty relaxing.  I love to sit between my two kiddos and share a bowl of popcorn while watching Netflix.  Snuggling up with my husband and kids allows me to slow down and enjoy my rest.  It makes rest time even sweeter.

Repeat often.
Make rest a habit.  Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed or stressed out.  Don’t wait until you are sick, tired, or sick and tired. Set boundaries in life between work and rest and stick to them.  Really enjoy and savor your time of rest and relaxation and hopefully you will find yourself healthier and happier. 

Welcome rest in your life.  It doesn’t matter what form it takes for you, as long as you make it a priority.  

Step away from busy and choose rest.

What are you doing to be restful?

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