Over the weekend I was reminded of the many types of rest I need as a foundation to life-giving rhythms. Rest is the structure on which everything else is built.
A co-worker I respect greatly always says, "Instead of only resting from our work, we need to work from our rest."
We mostly think of rest as sleeping in or making sure we get our 8 hours (or whatever they're suggesting now) a night. Admittedly, I don't always get enough sleep. I'm a night person by nature and I work a job that requires me to be in the office at 8am. Unfortunately, my creative drive and over-processing mind sometimes don't get the memo, and I find myself awake, writing, processing ideas or drawing with chalk on my wall at 2am. Most of the time, I try to have a regular rhythm for sleep – going to bed and waking up at the same time, making sure the room is dark and using a humidifier and sound machine. Sometimes, my body, mind and emotions signal that I need a bit more sleep, and I try to adjust for that. Sometimes, like on Friday, I'm forced to pay attention to rest when I catch a virus and stay home sick from work. My weekend started in literal rest.
On Saturday morning, I was still feeling a bit out of sorts (silly germs!), so I took some more time to be alone and rest. I gave my body what it needed by feeding myself with healthy foods and tea. I gave my brain what it needed by feeding myself with a good book (currently Firestarter Sessions, by Danielle Laporte) and indulging in funny movies. Rest sometimes looks like enjoying the simple things that bring delight to our bodies and minds.
On Sundays, I try to leave room for unexpected fun and adventure. This Sunday, I met a friend in the hallway at church. She expressed a slowness in her schedule that was good, but was making her feel a bit crazy. She then offered a perfect possibility for the afternoon – coffee and conversation at a gorgeous shop on the Chatahoochee river. How could I turn her down? Later, sitting in the sun with the water flowing gently by, sipping our amaretto iced coffees, we talked through some tough things in our lives. Even with the pain and frustration lingering in the conversation, I was happy to be with a good friend. What a beautiful juxtaposition; helping to carry each others' burdens while basking in the glory of nature and the goodness of God in our stories. This was truly rest for my heart and, I hope, for hers as well.
Rest can look like many things in many seasons. It can be a conversation with a friend, a movie night in, a time for writing and reflecting, dancing out your feelings to a song you love, or a cabin in the woods that you can get away to when you need it.
For those who are in a "busy" season of life, new parents or those in the hustle of a new business, rest can seem like a distant daydream. Rest is not only attainable, it's necessary. You may not get in your recommended sleep quota, but do something today to rest your body, mind and heart. Rest is as simple as you make it.
How will you find rest this week?