The Quest for Rest

The Quest for Rest“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” –Matthew 11:28-30

Do you ever feel guilty when you take some time to rest?  That, somehow, society has convinced you that rest is an indulgence you simply can’t afford.  In this go-go society of never ending to do lists, late night text messages from work, and trying to make partner, we are obsessed with the feeling that , “I should be doing something!”

Add to that stress the expectations of the new job, new house, and new baby who wakes every night at 4AM and we just can’t find the time to gives ourselves a break.

The truth is, rest is important!  Scientific studies have proven that getting the proper amount of rest and relaxation has valuable health benefits.  Rest protects our heart, lowers the risk of stroke, boosts our memory, and improves our decision making.  Rest helps prevent colds, reduces acne, helps keep us slim and helps fight breast cancer.

So, why do we feel guilty when we take a break?  Why do we feel that we have to be busy all of the time?

The bible speaks often of rest.  At least 72 times the bible tells us of the importance of rest.  Even God rested on the7th day!

“On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.  God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.”  –Genesis 2:2-3

I remember fondly the Sundays of my youth.  Our day began with mass, and then spending the day with family; mom and dad, aunts and uncles, grandma and grandpa, and all the kids.  We just spent time not doing anything, just enjoying each-others company, and entering into that Sabbath rest.

It was easier then.  Businesses were closed on Sunday.  There was no mall, no Sunday liquor sales, and no after-hours messages from work, just relaxation!

But, all that has changed now.  Stores are open, people are working, business emails are still flowing, and people are still glued to their smart phones for fear that they might miss an important text message.

So, let me share some good news; it doesn’t have to be that way!

That’s right you have the power to decide to disconnect and enter into that sweet rest.  All of those challenges, emails, and text messages with still be there tomorrow.

“Return, my soul, to your rest; the LORD has been very good to you.” –Psalm 116:7

Here are a few ideas on how to make rest and relaxation part of your life:

  1. Take a break.  Studies have shown that taking a 15 minute break after every hour we work increases our productivity.  In my own experience, I like to work hard on a task for one hour, then, take a break.  I walk around, grab a bottle of water, step outside and breathe some fresh air, or have a brief conversation with an associate and return to my office refreshed and ready to tackle another task.
  2. Make time for downtime. When you are making out that To Do list, make sure you schedule some down time.  That’s right, it is just as important that anything else on the list.  Walk to lunch, take a jog, pray, meditate, or take a nap, remember, schedule it!
  3. Make rest part of your routine. Find something at the beginning and end of each day to help you relax.  For me praying the chaplet of divine mercy in my car on the way to work make for a more mindful day.  Shutting off smart phones, computers, television, and other devices an hour before bed time help the process of relaxation.
  4. Get at least 7 hour of sleep. Difficult when you little one wakes up twice during the night, but taking turns getting up allow at least one of you to get some needed sleep.  For the rest of us going to bed a little earlier might be the answer.  Just record that 10 PM TV program and watch it tomorrow will get you extra sleep time.
  5. Make Sunday a true day of rest. You probably can’t do it every Sunday, but I promise that if you try it you’ll crave it every week. Start with going to church as a family. Then for the rest of the day, enjoy doing something fun together. Watch a movie, go to a ball game, the zoo, visit an amusement park or just play board games, but do it together as a family.

Why not give these suggestions a try or come up with your own list.

As for me, it’s time for a nap!!!

The Quest for Rest(1)

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