From keeping our minds sharp and at the top of their game to helping us to maintain a positive and gracious attitude towards others, there can be no doubt that rest plays a vital role in our ability to clearly and effectively present the message of Christ. Yet finding time to relax, enjoy a sunset, or take a nap isn’t always easy. That’s why, this week, we’re taking a look at some ways to effectively fit time for rest into our schedules. We’ll start with the most important suggestion:
- Actually schedule time for rest. “To do’s” get lost. Appointments don’t. If you block out a few minutes on your calendar, you’re far more likely to fulfill the goal of resting than if you simply add “rest” to the interminably long list of things you need to accomplish each day. Select the times which work best for you and follow through.
- Let others know about your schedule. While issuing an “informational bulletin” doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be left alone, it does lessen the chances of your being interrupted once you’ve settled in with a cup of coffee and a good book.
- Find a place to hide. While we don’t recommend becoming a hermit, it can be worth your while to find a place to retreat for your “resting appointments”. By minimizing your availability to others and changing the scenery a bit, you’ll be maximizing the chances that your time of rest will be… well, restful.
- Plan your rest. Blocking out an hour to listen to Rachmaninoff, go for a meandering walk, or watch the birds at your feeder can add the kind of structure that makes that “scheduled rest” feel more like a “must-keep appointment”. The result? You’re more likely to keep your commitment.
- Don’t plan what to do during your rest. While planning rest works for some folks, it doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes a glorious hour of “nothing” is more effective than a well thought out plan. Do whatever works best for you – even if it’s a bit of both!
- Determine when to quit. There’s no end to our revolving “to do” lists, so it isn’t a surprise that they appear at both the beginning and the end of our “resting” advice. Quite frankly, we can run ourselves ragged trying to keep up with all of the tasks which need to be accomplished. Determine a time each evening when you’re going to call it quits then stick to it. Put the “to do” list away, change into your jammies, and just relax. You’ll find yourself sleeping better and waking fresher as you reap the full benefits of rest.
These, of course, are only a few ideas to help you make rest a regular part of your life and it may take time to fully implement them. Schedules change as do the demands presented by family, church, school, and work. The blocks of time available for rest this week may not be the same next week. That’s okay. The idea is to make resting a priority in our lives.
Next week, we’ll be concluding our series with a look at how hobbies help or hinder our attempts to relax. Meanwhile, feel free to share your own tips for scheduling rest in the comment box below!