Do you sometimes feel, as Bilbo Baggins put it, like “Butter spread over too much bread?” Truth be told, in a culture that races madly along the tracks of busyness, I think many of us can empathize.
On those days when it seems like everyone rolled off on the wrong side of the bed and patience is stretching thinner than about-to-melt Saran wrap, do you long for a break to rejuvenate? And if you do try for a break, do you feel guilty when kids knock at the door or dirty dishes overwhelm the sink?
Well, don’t! It’s ok to say no. Not only is it ok, it’s essential!
If you feel like resting is selfish, just tell yourself all the benefits that taking a break offers.
- Broadens and reorients perspective – In the rush of daily life, we often get lost in the details until we find ourselves hurtling along a tunnel (for what reason?) just trying to get to the end for a breath of fresh air. Rest helps us step back, breathe, and remember the bigger picture.
- Increases focus and effectiveness – Does the picture of slogging numbly through projects sound familiar? Pausing to take care of yourself increases your energy and efficiency to devote to projects when you return.
- Slows time – Maybe this is just me, but I have found that when I unplug from electronics and my strict, detailed schedule, I feel like there is actually more time in my day since I’m not trying to madly cram as much as I can into each tick of the clock.
- Teaches boundaries – Allowing yourself to take some “me” time teaches children the importance of respecting personal space. Modeling self-sacrifice to children is important, but so is teaching about boundaries and sensitivity to others!
- Models healthiness to your family –Don’t want to see your kids burnout someday? Start modeling rest for them now! Scheduling time off for yourself shows children how to prevent burn-out in their own lives even in busy seasons.
- Encourages independence – If children know that you won’t do everything for them, it will increase their initiative to help out and do things for themselves—important life skills!
- Increases creativity – When we take time to let our minds wander and ideas simmer, creativity awakens. As you feel more refreshed, it will be easier to encourage children to follow their passions in creative ways as well.
- Deepens Empathy – When we take care of ourselves and feel calmer, we have a greater capacity for reaching out, listening, and caring for others.
- Impacts your community – Our potential for influence expands when we operate from a state of rest and wholeness. For example, watch others become drawn to your relaxed demeanor and become inspired to take time to refresh, too!
- Increases group morale – I don’t know about you, but panic, anxiety, anger, frustration, and moodiness all abound when I don’t allow myself to slow down. Without sufficient sleep or down time, we run the risk of transforming into Grinches and Scrooges. And who wanted to be around them? Nobody. Not even with a 39 ½-foot pole. So, be kind to those around you and take that down time! Enjoy a team morale boost when you return happier and saner!
So, granted, rest is important. But how do you do it? One way is to sit down and make a list of things that you want to do, that you love doing, that you feel refreshed doing, and make sure to do those things sometime during the week. That list will look different for everyone, so make sure it is personalized to your needs! However, if you are like me after I graduated and was suffering from chronic burn-out, you may not even remember what those things are.
If that is the case, start with just scheduling time where you don’t do things you feel like you have to do. As you say no and clear demands off your plate, your mind will have a chance to slowly relax its ceaseless spinning and rediscover things you want to do.
But what if your kids aren’t yet old enough to take care of themselves for an hour or two?
Perhaps network with friends to create a support group where you can take turns watching each other’s kids once a week or so. You will have fun and so will your kids!
So what do you like to do to relax? How will (or are) you incorporating rest into your routine? I can always use ideas. Did I mention that this blog post was also for me? Confessions of a recovering burn-out addict.
I hope this list has encouraged you to find a way to relax not only guilt-free but confidently! Rest isn’t just a luxury–it’s a necessity!
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Anna Soltis.