Rules for Rest

Rest. I've heard so much about it, and yet I still feel like I don't really know how to do it. But despite my efforts, I still feel like I'm just not getting enough poured into me to be able to pour back into every area of my life. Unless I consciously think about it, I habitually run and run and run from one thing to another until I'm completely running on empty. It's incredibly easy for me to run on autopilot, simply going through my normal routine without really thinking about what I'm doing or whether the very things I'm doing are serving me or draining me and how I might be able to adapt them.

In my attempt to really learn how to rest and change my habits, I've been keeping my eyes and ears open to the wise words of others-- those I know personally as well as those whom I only know through the wonders of the Internet.

One great resource I came across recently was a post by Stephanie Mae Wilson, in which she discussed some tips for incorporating more rest in our lives. Here I've mentioned a few, but I encourage you to look at the full list on her website.

Create a to-don't list. At first, I didn't think this sounded like something that would really benefit me. After all, things that come to mind are all things that need to get done, right? While that may be true, I need to remind myself that not everything that is important is urgent, and not everything that is urgent is important. I don't want to get caught up doing things today that could very well wait until tomorrow, or putting off things I need to do right now just because they don't seem as productive.

I have enough to fill my plate without adding unnecessary tasks that I can delegate to someone else, let go of entirely, or wait to complete until another time. And I don't want to equate productivity with value; there are plenty of things that are important that aren't necessarily accomplish a task, like spending time reading my Bible, reading a novel, giving myself a mani-pedi, or going to bed early. But those things are still important components of self-care and rest, and I need to learn to value them as much as the more productive things.

Schedule time for rest. I'm big on planning and scheduling, in case you hadn't figured that out yet. I like to know what my day looks like before it begins. I feel more comfortable knowing what the plan is so that I know how much time I have allotted for everything, ensuring that everything can get done and I can still maintain some shred of my sanity in the process. But I typically put rest time on the back burner. I've heard time and again that rest is important (after all, it's my word for this year), but I'm not particularly good at planning time for it. I plan to change that and set aside time to rest without guilt, knowing that it's good for both my body and my soul.

Ask yourself what it is that you need, knowing it changes over time. Instead of just reacting by habit or reflex, I need to take a moment to ask myself what I really need. Do I need to do my laundry right this minute, or would I be better serving myself if I took five minutes to read, sip some tea, or just sit still? Do I really have to run to the store today, or would it actually be a better idea to go this weekend when I have time to go without rushing through it, allowing myself to enjoy it? Do I need more "me time" or "others time"? Knowing whether I'm in a season of neglecting personal time or time with others helps me discern what I need to balance things out when they start to go awry.

I hope that by paying greater attention to what I need to refuel myself, I can regain some balance even in the midst of the craziness of moving and travel plans. After all, I've been told that life only gets busier. I might as well get used to it and learn to enjoy the ride. : )

Do you have any tips for making room for rest in your life? I'd love to hear them!



Further reading:

My Heart Came Back To Life This Summer, And Here’s How… by Stephanie Mae Wilson