There are several generous souls who have been kind enough to let me pick their brains about rest. They have given me permission to share their insights. While I believe we all need rest, how we go about getting that rest and what that rest looks like for each of us is going to be very personal. It is my hope that as we learn how different people experience rest, we might see a new way to invite rest into our lives.
Here is one beautiful friend’s thoughts on rest:
How do you define rest?
An activity or space that allows my mind to feel unencumbered, to not be concerned or worried as much with life, to do lists. When I rest I feel freedom, I feel less stress, I feel like the to dos are not present. I usually need to feel caught up on life/stuff before I can rest. As an introvert, activities that I find restful are either solo activities or something involving people I know well. Reading, writing, using my hands-art or yardwork-all of these are restful to me.
Do you believe you need more rest in your life?
Yes! I fortunately and unfortunately have to incorporate rest into my days due to chronic illness. When I work, I can’t, so on my off days so form of rest is a part of it. I am not always good about the activities I chose-its easy to turn on the tv or zone out on my phone when doing something like painting feels harder, like a hurdle I have to jump over to get into a more restful zone.
How often do you set aside time for rest?
My mornings are my designated time of rest on my off days. I read and write and drink coffee in the morning. During the day I have small periods of rest, again where I slow down, but don’t necessarily rest.
If you do practice rest, how did you come to prioritize that?
When my physical limitations forced me to slow down I fought it tooth and nail. I liked being busy, meeting peoples’ needs, being able to rattle off what I did on a day off. I defined myself as a helper and that usually meant putting people before me. To rest felt and still does feel at times self indulgent, it felt lazy, it fought against what I wanted. But as I had no choice but to settle in I learned how life giving it can be. If I allow for it. I still have to fight against shame voices that tell me I have to have done things for a day to be productive, voice that put me down for placing myself as a priority. An now I love my quiet in the mornings.
As you anticipate a day of rest, what are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to seeing what I learn. I am nervous going into it and want to “do it right” so I am already struggling with letting go of my need to do things well.
What do you hope to experience on your day of rest?
I hope to broaden my definition of rest and to feel some peace as I chose to slow down.
What do you need to do to prepare for your day of rest?
Knock off a few to dos, but mostly I need to give myself freedom in this day. And to remember to be kind to myself.