At the breakfast table a few mornings ago, I yawned. Somewhat loudly. And Emily looked over at me and said, “Um, Mom? Maybe you need to go back to bed…”
To which I replied, “Great! You just go ahead and do all these dishes, change your brother’s diaper, and start homeschooling yourself, mmmkay? I’ll be snoozing in my bedroom until I’m rested. See you in a few weeks. Don’t forget, lunch is at noon!”
Just kidding. I think I tried to hide my rolling eyes and muttered, “I wish…” under my breath, before collecting the dirty dishes and slapping a smile on my face.
I had planned for this summer to be a time of rest. A step back from writing, a little more margin in my days, a lot less on my plate.
Not exactly restful.
I’d hoped that maybe once we settled in here, there would be a little time to rest on this side of things. But the last few weeks have been filled with unpacking and settling in, and today is Jon’s first day at a new job. We’re jumping into a long and busy school year with two feet.
In the craziness of this summer, I’ve learned something a little bit revolutionary (for me).
You can either work too hard for too long, burn out, and be forced to rest, OR you can incorporate regular rest into a full life, and keep on living.
I’ve worked too hard for too long and burned out before. Many times. This year? I’m working on making rest a regular practice in my very full life.
Today, I want to share a few things I’m doing that have actually made it possible for me to make resting a priority, even in this busy season of life!
1. Make a plan for rest.
I’m a planner by nature, so you would think that this one would be a no brainer, but it wasn’t. I’ve always been good at planning out my to-do lists, my work schedule, the kids’ appointments, and everything I needed to get done, BUT I was absolutely exhausted.
Why? Because I only planned for work – I never planned for rest!
I’m learning that if I actually schedule a rest period into my day, I’m more motivated to get everything else done beforehand, so that when I allow myself to rest, I can truly enjoy it & get rested! I’m not worrying about all the things I *should* be doing, because rest IS what I should be doing! It’s on my daily schedule, after all!
Feel like there’s no time in your day to plan a rest period? I’d like to suggest that you don’t have time NOT to rest. Here are a few ideas to incorporate rest time into your busy day:
- Use your lunch break to read, listen to a podcast, or talk to an encouraging friend.
- Nap when the kids are napping. If you can’t get them all to nap together, put on a show that will hold their attention for 30 minutes, and crash on the couch with one eye open.
- Go to bed just 30 minutes earlier than normal, and spend that time journaling or reading a good book. Don’t turn on the TV!
2. Incorporate the things you love.
Rest doesn’t necessarily mean taking a nap, although some days that’s exactly what I need! Rest can be anything that refuels you and gives your brain a break from the stresses of your daily life.
I also find that if I’m excited about what I’m doing during rest time, I’m more likely to make the time for it. For me, that meant switching out my non-fiction books for some fun fiction. I still read non-fiction a lot, just not during rest time. Fiction is much easier for me to relax and enjoy, and I always look forward to continuing a story I’ve been sucked into!
And then some days, I really can’t get excited about anything other than a nap. So, a nap it is!
3. Establish routines that work.
The very best thing I’ve found to help with prioritizing rest in my daily schedule, is creating and sticking with a couple of basic routines each day.
I’ve written about my morning routine before, but I’ve also been working on establishing my evening routine lately. Honestly, if my evenings aren’t in order, there’s no way I’m getting up in the morning in time to really make my morning routine happen. I’ve stuck with these basic routines for a few weeks, with a few tweaks here and there, they have proven to work really well for our family.
Right now, my routines are as follows:
- Quiet Time (Rest for me!)
- Make Tea (Rest!)
- Unload Dishwasher
- Tidy Kitchen and Living Room
- Start Dishwasher
- Start 1 Load of Laundry
- Brush Teeth
- Read (Rest!)
Simple, right? I’ve set routines before, but only maintained them for a couple of days at a time. This time, working through each step of the courses has helped me to actually STICK with these routines. And sticking with the routines gives me MORE TIME throughout the rest of the day, because I’ve started and ended my days with rest.
Believe me, it’s much wiser to plan for rest instead of be forced into it because you’re completely burned out. I’ve learned that the hard way!
It’s possible to prioritize rest, even in a busy season. Although it often feels like we just don’t have the time, the truth is that resting makes us more patient, more effective, and more productive!
Your turn! How do you make time for rest, even when life gets busy?
P.S. If you’d like to establish a doable morning routine of your own, I’d love to invite you to take our free Morning Routine Mini-Course! Sign up here!
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