We have been in some form of quarantine – or another – since March. I feel like all I’ve done is “rest”. Oddly, though, I find that I’m often overwhelmed, a little anxious and… tired! I found myself asking, “If I have been resting for the last five months, how could I possibly be tired?”
Well, the short answer is this: I haven’t really been resting. And, I dare say, neither have you.
In her book, Sacred Rest, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith outlines 7 different types of rest:
I’ve gotten a little physical – and maybe some sensory – rest these last five months. But, that’s it! I have definitely not gotten any mental, emotional, spiritual, social or creative rest. In fact, with all of the pandemic news, the social unrest and the political tension, my mind has been on hyperdrive. And now I just feel tired.
I didn’t know it until recently, but getting real rest requires work. That sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Let me explain: to truly rest – to rest in the way that renews your body, your mind or your soul – you must be intentional about it.
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, for I will give you rest.
We have compiled a list of suggestions for achieving each of the 7 types of restfulness.
- Turn off your alarm clock for a day or two.
- Work fifteen minutes of stillness into your day.
- Go to bed an hour early (without a screen).
- Consider one of the Six Types of Meditation.
- Schedule a leisurely 15 minute walk twice a day.
- Plan a screen-free weekend.
- Spend 10 minutes – morning and evening – creating a happiness journal.
- Schedule time to speak with a trusted mentor or a professional therapist.
- Find a quiet place to reconnect.
- Take 30 minutes each morning to immerse yourself in scripture.
- Find a no-strings-attached way to fill your cup: give, mentor or volunteer.
- Take a social media hiatus.
- Make time to truly, quietly connect with family.
- Write one letter to an old friend each week.
- Sit quietly, in a comfortable chair, with a warm cup of caffein free tea.
- Find a quiet, dimly lit space in which you can be still for 5 – 10 min/day.
- Consider a sensory deprivation float.
- Plan a nature hike to a new place.
- Explore a new area in your neighborhood or city.
- Carve out 15 minutes each day to explore a new creative medium.
If you, like me, find the notion of rest a bit self indulgent, consider this: rest, while not a commandment, is often encouraged in the Bible. David rested, Jesus rested, even the Lord Himself designated the seventh day as a day of rest. Filling your cup, so that you might spill its blessings out upon the world in which you live, is not self indulgent. It is necessary.
Oh! that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.
Psalm 55: 6 + 8