I just want to start out by thanking those of you who are following my blog. It’s grown steady since I started it just a month ago. Thank you so much! I thought today we would take some time and talk about something every human being needs to do = rest. And, rest well! What I’ve found is that many people don’t know how to rest really well, including myself. Recently my own life has been jam packed and I was finally hit with the realization that I need to hit the “pause” button.
We can become so distracted by the noise in our world. Science has proven our growing addiction to screens and constant stimulation. It’s all around you everywhere you turn. The moment we finally slow down and do try and rest, our minds go to our growing list of “to do’s” and things we forgot. Or, if you have a similar personality to my own, you feel like you are not being “productive.”
Here’s a truth that I’m still learning = The most productive people in the world are those who know how to rest well. While this may not be true of every person we label as “productive” we can clearly see the difference in the physical and mental health of those who are mega-productive and know how to rest REALLY well. So, let’s dive into “how” we can rest well.
Turn “them” OFF (you know what “them” means)
Let’s not beat around the bush, you know what you need a break from… Your screens! Get rid of them for a day. Tv, iPhone, computer, etc. Just shut them off or put on “do not disturb” for the day. This past weekend my wife and I were in much need of some simple rest. We didn’t mind leaving our phones away from us and limited the time we spent on them. What did we do instead? Sat outside and talked (there’s a novel idea). We also went on another one of our “cheap” dates where we get chips & salsa and just chill at a really cool local Mexican restaurant.
I used to not believe I was more productive without a screen until I was challenged to stop using my iPhone to manage my goals. Instead, I was challenged to write them out in a paper planner and move away from a screen. This has now led me to hand writing most of my big ideas and projects and I’m WAY more productive. But that’s a post for another day…
The point is: lose the screens (and maybe even your watch). If you’re resting well you don’t need the time. If the sun is up, go enjoy it. If it’s going down, sit by the fire or sleep. It’s not rocket science, just turn your screens off and enjoy someone else’s company, reading a book, talking with Jesus, whatever gives you energy.
Leave your planner closed
This is the hardest part for me on my “rest” days. I want a plan for my rest. Apparently, you don’t need a plan if you’re not trying to get something done but resting. I’m still growing in this area but am learning quickly that when I learn to just go with the flow I enjoy my rest days even more. Make all the excuses you want for planning your day off, you simply need to challenge yourself to leave the planning alone until Monday.
This past weekend actually felt like a mini-vacation. Each time I was tempted to “plan” our next experience, my wife reminded me we just needed to go with the flow. She’s WAY better at that than me. Rather than get annoyed at our lack of planning, I decided to trust her guidance and just allow the day to take us where it wanted. For my personality type, I want to dominate every moment of every day (which I guess isn’t restful to some).
Guess what happened? It worked! I just let the day take us where it wanted and we ended up at several places during our resting: the pool, back porch, grocery store, back porch again, walking, and I almost forgot = rest! The point, ditch the planning just for one or two days.
Stop making excuses
It’s pretty sad that we make excuses for why we can’t rest. I hear it all the time, even from my own lips. You’re afraid something will not get done unless you do it, even on your day off. Here’s the truth: no it might not get done, and that’s ok! You’re not the hero of everything. And besides, your mind and body needs you to relax and rest. If you can step away from your tasks and rest you will notice something incredible next time you work on them = you will have new and even better ideas. You will discover that you’re “stuck” feelings are replaced with clarity. Why is that? Because you rested well.
There is always another hill to climb. You need the energy to climb it so take time in this valley to rest before climbing the next one. I once heard this phrase when it comes to excuses and it really stays with me each time I’m tempted to make one. I hope it does you as well.
“Boys make excuses. Men make plans.”
– Ted Roberts
Look, that can be applied to both men and women. The point is: excuses are not valid so we need to stop making them. Make a plan to rest and stick to it. As a leader, I know that I’m better when I have had time to recharge and spend intentional time with those closest to me. When I spend prolonged time with Jesus, my wife, and a few close friends I am WAY better when in front of people doing my job. Maybe you will be as well.
So, make no plans and enjoy the benefits! Then, get back to it after you’ve had time to rest. Your organization will not crumble from a day of rest. Your family will not fall apart from a day of rest. You will not fail your schooling from a day of rest.