Yesterday I shared some thoughts on how to receive the gift of rest. Today I’m attempting to get a little more practical. This is not a checklist or a prescription, just some ideas that may be helpful for your own experience of rest.
Are you getting enough sleep? Perhaps that sounds too obvious, but we live in a sleep-deprived world and making sure you get enough sleep every night is a key aspect of rest.
I’d like to say that I’ve got this sorted, but I have to say it’s a work (or un-work) in progress.
Set Your Priorities
If you had to rate all the things in your life in order of importance, what would rise to the top? Those are your priorities. Are they consistent with your values? Are they the priorities you actually want for your life?
If you don’t make rest a priority, there will always be reasons why you never seem to have the time. Rest is a necessity, not a luxury.
Simplify Your Life
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to over-commit, repeatedly. As a result, I am no stranger to burnout. It is not something I would recommend. Establishing your priorities may help you to decide what commitments or activities are worthwhile, and which ones you may need to stop.
It’s also worth being aware that commitments may have a season. Pay attention to the signs that a season is coming to an end. Ignoring the signs can be costly to your health and wellbeing.
Creating some space in your life will make it easier to rest.
Set Aside Time to Rest
Schedule time for rest. Regularly. That doesn’t mean you have to sit like a lump and do nothing. Choose things that are refreshing and life-giving for you. Choose things that help you bring your focus back to God. Here are a few suggestions:
- spend the first 5 or 10 minutes relaxing when you come home from work before you start dinner, do the housework or check emails.
- take a walk in a park or along the beach
- watch a sunset
- listen to your favourite worship music
- have a short nap (set an alarm if you need to get up by a certain time)
- read a good book
- do something creative – paint, draw, write a poem, write in your journal, take photographs, play an instrument, sing …
- take a short nap (did I say that already?)
- write a note of encouragement to someone
- meditate on a verse of Scripture
- sit in your favourite chair, close your eyes and just listen for a few minutes
Make sure you stay connected with people. This may seem a little counter-intuitive at first, but you need people who know you well, care about you and are willing to hold you accountable when you’re over-stretching and not resting well. You need people who will help you to keep perspective on your commitments, responsibilities and expectations of yourself. You also need to be willing to listen and respond if they express concern that you’re too busy and too tired.
Do you have any other practical suggestions for resting that you’d like to share?