Relax your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Remove your tongue from the roof of your mouth. Stretch any body part that seems tight or you feel tension. Now breathe. Take a couple of moments to do this over and over. How do you feel? Do you feel lighter or do you feel as though you are still carrying the weight of the world?
I remember as a kid my mom forcing me to have “rest days”. Days with no agenda, away from other kids and activities. A full day of nothingness where I had to find something around the house to do. I always fought it, but ended up playing with toys or reading books I had completely forgotten about. I reconnected. I refreshed. I rested.
As a busy parent, it becomes increasingly difficult to find time for rest. We all want to make a conscious effort to rest and live more in the moment. We’ve all heard that a million times, “they grow up so quickly”. Even though we know it’s true, we also know the reality is, it’s really difficult to stop, set the phone down, and live in the moment.
A couple of weeks ago I broke my wrist. I fell off my daughter’s hoverboard that she got for her birthday, suffered a mild concussion and broke my wrist which resulted in surgery. (I know, hoverboards are dangerous). I’m fine now, well on the road to recovery, and while I really desperately needed and wanted a “break”… this is absolutely not the break I was hoping for… however, sometimes God knows what we need.
I was recently scrolling on Instagram where I saw a mom shared an honest confession about rest. She admitted to wanting to get hurt, because a stay at the hospital sounded like a pretty good rest to her. I’ll admit after each one of my babies was born I never wanted to leave the hospital. Even with nurses popping in and out at all hours of the day and night, nothing was really required of me. No one asking for food, or needing help getting dressed, or fighting. It is so peaceful and it is the only chance I truly have to bond quietly with my new baby. But alas, the time always comes to leave the hospital and re-enter the complete chaos at home.
I’ve learned a few things about myself during the last couple weeks, with my unexpected time of rest.
- It’s really difficult for me to stop. I’m a busybody, I wear several hats. I own my own business, I blog, I’m active on social media, I have four children, a husband, and a household to run. I am no more busy than you are, but like you…it’s really difficult for me to truly rest.￼
- When I do rest, I feel guilty about it. Isn’t it crazy, we crave rest but then we feel anxious that we’re being lazy? We feel as though we’re not making the most of our day and really should be doing something else. There are dishes to be done and linens to be cleaned. Guilt creeps in moments after we sit down and suddenly we’re up again doing something we think is more important than resting our bodies.
So, what are the benefits of rest?
- Rest prevents burnout.
- Rest reduces stress.
- Rest can help improve health and boost immune system.
- Rest improves productivity and creativity.
- Rest reconnects us to our most important relationships. SO TRUE!
How to achieve True Rest:
- Gratitude: Most people focus on the ‘big’ things they’re grateful for—instead, refocus your thankfulness on the little things. Did you know: positive thoughts and a grateful mind are more likely to create a happy disposition and boost overall satisfaction?!
- Create Healthy Habits: Exercise reduces stress, improves mood, and regulates your hormones. Not to mention, you sleep better. Eating healthy and stretching are other habits to help optimize real rest. By turning your body “off” periodically, you can significantly improve your physical, emotional, and mental health.
- Prepare: To achieve real rest, you will need to plan ahead with things like meal planning, laundry and cleaning the house. Prep for a day of rest days in advance, almost like preparing for a holiday!
- Be intentional: Tell yourself you’re about to rest, ask yourself: “Am I really resting?” Be intentional about the rest you set forth. Remember the feeling of true rest and let go of the guilt that can mound by being still.
- Take in your surroundings: Go on a walk without your phone! If you can, take an hour or two in the middle of the day to step away from your devices. Feel the sun on your skin, feel the wind blowing, take in the smells, the sounds, the sights.
- Focus on yourself: When figuring out how you’d like to rest, focus on what helps you feel most alive and connects you to yourself.
I hope some of this helps. I’m working on it too. It’s not easy. But keep in mind, rest is a fundamental part of success, health and happiness. Maybe you’ll want to give it a try today…or right now.