The Art of Rest
I have noticed recently that we have lost the ability to rest. Worse yet, we seem to think poorly about it. We feel like we should always be busy. If we aren’t working or checking email or driving kids, then we are tidying the house or cooking or running errands. At times when we should rest, we binge watch television, surf the internet or social media. Moms definitely don’t have time to rest. But isn’t religion filled with scripture suggesting that we rest? God created for six days; then He rested, not because He was tired but to set the standard for mankind to follow. The Ten Commandments made resting on the Sabbath a requirement of the Law. It’s not just a commandment, but science tells us that we should rest. “Rest” is defined as ceasing work or movement to gain peace, relax, recover. Athletes know that they need rest to recover. So why do we seem to be human “doings” instead of human “beings”?
We all know that we need enough sleep; even if we don’t get it. But somehow, we don’t seem to believe that we actually need rest. Well, we do need to rest. Research shows that it helps our brain consolidate in order to learn. It also shows that rest can help us with moods and energy. Rest doesn’t have to be just sitting and doing nothing. Believe it or not, a short walk around the block to clear your mind can be considered rest.
You will have more energy
You will be more productive
You will have less stress
You will be able to sleep better
You will achieve that balance that you have been seeking
You will have a mental reserve when crisis hits
Most of us think we should go, go, go all week long and save rest for weekends. I totally disagree. Your brain cannot be “on” all of your work day. To work most efficiently, you need to let it rest. The Daily Muse did an experiment and sited that 52 minute work to 17 minutes rest is the ideal ratio. This is very similar to the Pomodoro Technique which suggests intervals of 25 minutes. I’m not sure that the exact amount of time matters. What does matter is that you fully remove your brain from your work so that it can rest. Scrolling through facebook doesn’t count. Sorry. If your work requires sitting, rest is probably best done by getting up and getting a breath of fresh air and movement.
Part of the problem is simply that we have forgotten HOW to rest. We might consider weekends to be time for rest but fill them with sports, errands, parties and activities. Oh and let’s clean up the house and do the laundry. As a mom, I know that much of this is to be expected. It seems like there is just too much to do. We feel like we can’t afford to just sit and do nothing. So we do, do do until we collapse with a glass of wine and our favorite Netflix show. I do enjoy that activity too. But I want you to take it deeper. Resting may be the key to deepening the contentment of your life. It may be a great model for your children.
If you wait till you have time, you will never have time. Create routines that bring planned rest info your life.
At specific times every day. I set a timer when I work.
Every weekend. You might not rest the entire weekend but set aside a whole day or part of each day for rest.
Vacations. Most Americans don’t take their vacation time. Make sure you take yours!
You are not at the whim of your schedule. You are the creator of your schedule and you can plan for rest. Keep it simple……
Take a walk.
Lie down and do absolutely nothing.
One study said that simple solitude is one of best ways to rest. Have a cup of coffee by yourself.
I just want you to hold some space sacred. I want you to realize that you don’t always have to be producing or doing. I want you to see that rest is not being lazy. It’s a gift for your life, for your health and for those around you.
“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” —Benjamin Franklin
Want more rest and time for yourself? Download my meditation bundle below!