What About Rest?

I’ve always been one of those “get-er-done” kind of people who don’t stop until all the work is completed. I can’t stand the feeling of something looming over me, and I don’t even enjoy doing something relaxing if there is work waiting. As a child growing up, it was accomplishable to complete all chores and schoolwork and then have literally nothing to do but whatever I wanted. That reality is pretty much unattainable for a grown-up. No matter how much I work, how many lists I check off, or phone calls I return, or bills I pay, there is always something else to be done. It almost feels like some kind of evil spell how dishes and laundry magically reappear within minutes!

It’s no wonder that I—and I think many adults—are sometimes happy when they get a little sick. I know personally a mild cold can almost come as a relief because I finally have an “excuse” to stop and rest and don’t feel guilty about it.

Can you relate?

I began to realize that there is probably something a bit wrong with my thinking if I was looking forward to getting sick (of course I started enjoying it less and less when I always seemed to get sick on days when I had to work anyway). I also wondered if maybe I kept getting sick because I was running my body ragged by not stopping to rest unless I had that “excuse.”

This led me to the decision that I was going to take a sick day once a week… without being sick! Most Sunday afternoons for the past six or so months (afternoons because I still can’t manage to stop long enough to take a full day—I’m working on it!) I have tried to act like I would if I were resting with a little cold. I’ve “allowed” myself to watch TV and lounge on the sofa which, in my very nature, is something I repulse unless I am actually sick. But I began to see results as I chose to prioritize rest. I think I stopped needing to get sick so often because I no longer required sickness to make me stop.

However, this idea didn’t last very long. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still take those afternoons off when I can, but I cheat. You see, I discovered a could get a ton of work done on my phone, computer, and/or iPad while I sat there! Sure I can be on the sofa, sure the TV can be on, but I am buzzing like a hive of busy bees on the inside, multitasking to the point that hours fly past and it’s bedtime before I even know it. It wasn’t long ago that one day I caught myself doing this, realizing that I was ending my “rest days” just as tired as I was my work days. Wait, what?

I believe our bodies and minds are deeply connected. Our emotions hugely affect our bodies and vice versa. Have you ever felt that something like school can actually be more draining than a day of physical labor? I certainly have! Which leads me to assume that in order to truly rest, it has to include my mind. But this has proven to be much more of a challenge than I thought. I am beginning to see how it’s getting harder and harder for me not to have all my devices going at once when I’m supposed to be “resting”, how it’s getting harder and harder to actually stay focused on one thing at a time, and how I really never give my mind a chance to rest. 

I wanted to write this blog and share my thoughts on this subject because I bet there are some of you out there who relate to what I am saying. I think as a culture it’s a pretty big deal, and not one we often hear or talk about. If we are honest, it might be truer to say that we actually pride ourselves on being so busy we can’t see straight. You probably know what I’m talking about.

I believe rest looks different for everyone, and looks different in different seasons, so please take from this what speaks to you, and forget everything else. Learning anything in life is a process and a journey, and I am on the journey of endeavoring to understand and practice rest better in my life. In the months to come, I want to share more of what I discover about rest and what it can look like. 

I would truly love to hear your thoughts, questions, and learnings on the subject of rest. Please do share in the comments.

Thankful for you all.