Society is constantly sending us messages that we must work hard, overwork or overexert ourselves to achieve what we want in life. But I challenge you to think about how much healthier, happier and whole we could be in life if we actually took time to rest. When I refer to rest, I don’t just mean sleep nor do I mean work for a year just to enjoy a week’s vacation. I definitely don’t mean an extremity such as work hard all week and play harder on the weekends. It’s deeper than that. Mental, emotional and physical rest is important for consistency and intentionality in the form of self-care.
For many of us, the mandatory quarantine that began in March 2020 forced us to slow down in life – but did it teach us how to rest or enforce selfcare? Some of us took the time to relearn ourselves or develop new hobbies. For others, it meant more work all in one place which left us feeling bouts of cabin fever. Regardless, the takeaway for us all should have been that the unexpected in life can come about in sudden and drastic change. We cannot afford another sudden change or life altering event to happen in order for us to stop and consider or re-evaluate selfcare.
Let’s look at another aspect that supports the importance of rest, The Bible. The first chapter in Genesis outlines how God worked to form creation in 6 days and on the 7th day, He rested. Furthermore, in Exodus, the Ten Commandments are outlined with the 4th commandment stating to keep a day of rest, The Sabbath. Lastly, in Hebrews 4:9-11 it reads, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” Did God himself need rest when forming creation or did He take time to rest so that He could model the importance of it for us? Taking rest is not only important for us but also a part of God’s will for our lives.
So, how can we be intentional and consistent with self-care? Here are a few tips:
For self-care or rest to become a consistent habit, you must do it every day! Think about it as prepping for a big game or test. You don’t take on the big event without preparation. Don’t take on the big events of life without preparing yourself with the practice of self-care.
Create a list of activities or hobbies that are restful or recharging to you. This way, when it comes time for you to rest, you readily have options of things to do.
Now that you have some ideas brainstormed, get it on the calendar! Creating a routine that includes self-care further reinforces the habit. A few minutes a day is all it takes to form a habit of self-care.
Many of us don’t rest because we think we can’t financially afford to take time off or that we can’t afford the cost of what we want to do. Creating budget allows you to plan for days off work or pay for a visit to the spa or vacation you so desire.
Share your plan for self-care with a loved one or you counselor so that you’ll have someone checking in to keep you on track or support you when you lose momentum.
Rest and self-care are not only necessary and important but is the basis from which we must function if we desire to be healthy. The next time you think you don’t have time to rest or care for yourself, remember this: If you are an empty vessel, you cannot pour into others or have a full life. Refill yourself first!