In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
Rest is critical for obvious reasons. When you rest, your body renews itself, you regain focus, your mood improves, and you tap into your creative energy. However, the majority of people struggle to find a balance between work and life. When the bills are mounting and your children are needing your attention, it is hard to switch off and take moments of strategic rest daily. Despite life’s demands, taking intentional moments of rest is critical to your wellbeing.
But how can you do this when your plate is always full? A few small changes can be beneficial to you and help you to switch off.
1. Guard your off days zealously
Most employers give a day or two of off days to their employees. Take these moments to unwind and rejuvenate. Even when it feels like the workload increases significantly while you are away and resting, and your mind drifts to what areas of work are needing your attention, determine to switch off and rest.
2. Change your setup
A simple change in scenarios can help you rest. Even switching your work area at home can enable you to feel less stressed. For example, moving your work desk to face a window overlooking a lawn can be a small move that creates a significant change in your wellbeing. Indeed, the adage, a change is as good as a rest holds true.
3. Connect with loved ones
Find time to check in with a friend regularly. Being known and loved increases feelings of wellbeing. Research found that people who experience
“higher felt love- brief experiences of love and connection in everyday life…had significantly higher levels of psychological well-being, which includes feelings of purpose and optimism, compared to those who had lower felt love scores.”
Penn State (2019, November 25)
4. Get some shut-eye
Parents of newborns can tell you how those first couple months of sleepless nights can take a toll on decision making and family relationships. It is detrimental to your health to only sleep a few hours at a time for extended periods. Aim to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
The research shows that having a consistent sleep and wake-up time aids with all-round wellbeing including better immune system function, less irritability, sharper focus and short term memory amongst other great benefits.
The number of hours you sleep each night should be based on your individual needs. In addition, create sleep routines that help you wind down quickly. For example, you may opt to switch off your screens two hours before sleep, or you could meditate on scripture in preparation for sleep.
5. Get some sun
Sunshine is good for you. Studies show that sunshine may help in regulating your hormones and melatonin circadian rhythms. The melatonin hormone helps with inducing sleep, so if you struggle to fall asleep at night, some sunshine may help you get drowsy. In addition, being out in nature can help you relax. Going for a brisk walk or a jog releases endorphins into your body. Endorphins help lift your spirit and mood.
6. Get support
Rest may seem like a luxury for parents who are struggling to find any time to themselves. I have found that asking for help can give one a few moments of time for recreation and rest. This can look like asking a friend to watch your children for an hour while you walk around your neighbourhood.
For others, it could mean hiring a full-time nanny who can care for the child while you rest. For others, it could mean enrolling your child into daycare. Whatever works for your family is best for you, but do not shy away from asking for the help you desperately need while you take moments of rest.
7. Find a hobby
Have you always been interested in a hobby but never taken it up? This might be the best time to test the waters. It might be bird watching, photography, drawing, or dancing. Whatever it is, start and see if it helps you to relax.
There are many ways to rest, but it is key to find something that works for you. Life is a marathon and if you attempt to sprint through it you will likely burn out or die early. Live in the present and savour every moment. Take moments of intentional rest. If God did it, so should you!