Photo by Ana Cotta
Last month, I shared that I’m taking an online break from mid-June to mid-July. I learned from my blogging maternity leave last year how much better my writing was when I returned, how rested I felt, and how I was ready and excited to get back to my blog business.
You all echoed my sentiments, and spoke resolutely about the need for a break in your own lives. Many of you are chaotically busy and feel the weight of all your responsibilities.
But a few of you also asked some good questions. Questions like How? When do I find the time? And I liked Gloria’s honest feedback: “Where do you start if you’ve forgotten how to rest?”
I think it’s easy for us to make rest complicated — but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ideas.
Take a season
Perhaps you have the freedom to take a larger chunk of time away from a hectic schedule. Be it a week, a month, or the entire summer — if you’re feeling close to burnout, and you can afford to take a break, then do it. You won’t regret it.
Photo by Ben Fredericson
1. Go on a road trip with your family. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination, and go somewhere restful (so maybe not to your extended family).
2. Start — and finish — a project. Be it sewing a dress, painting a room, or writing a book proposal, tackle something that’s been on your list. It’ll feel good to cross it off.
3. Try a hobby you’ve been curious about. Take a cooking class. Ask a friend to teach you to knit.
4. Read several books. Pick something light-hearted and a second slightly heavier one that’ll make you think.
5. Declutter and organize one room in your home.
6. Hire a babysitter one day, and meet a friend for lunch or coffee.
Take a day
Most of us can’t afford more than a day completely away from our responsibilities. If your husband can be with the kids for one day, or if you can hire a babysitter from morning to evening, here are some ideas for rejuvenation.
Photo by John Althouse Cohen
7. Journal. Bible. Coffee shop. That’s a perfect morning to me.
8. Use your coffee shop time to reflect on the past 12 months and to plan for the next. My New Year’s Eve reflection questions can actually work any time of the year.
9. If it’s nice weather, hike a local trail in your city.
10. Call a friend and say hi.
11. Take a much-needed nap — go somewhere other than home, if you need to.
Take minutes here and there
A typical parent doesn’t have more than a few minutes’ break in a normal day. Perhaps you can’t take a full sabbatical or even day away from the grind. It’s still incredibly important for you to take a bit of time to rest. Find it whenever you can.
Photo by Russell Smith
12. Fill up an inflatable pool or turn on the sprinkler. Let the kids play while you read a book in a chair nearby.
13. Institute an afternoon quiet time, no matter your kids’ age. Everyone retreats to his or her room for two hours or solo time — you do the same.
14. Head to the library as usual, but don’t just check out books for your kids.
15. Do something you enjoy, and include your kids. Bake bread and have the kids help, or read a book and bring that stack of library books onto the couch for your kids. It won’t be quite as relaxing as doing it solo, but it’ll be fun anyway.
16. Go to bed early. It’s tempting to get stuff done once the kids are in bed, but every now and then, dishes can wait. Enjoy a full nights’ sleep.
I’m reminded of Susanna Wesley, 17th century mother of 19 children. The story goes that whenever she’d pull the apron over her head, the kids knew to be quiet and leave her be. She was getting five minutes of alone time to pray.
It’s hard to find down time, but it’s necessary to keep us going. God made us for rest. We’d be fighting how He made us if we didn’t.
What are some other practical ways you find rest?
By Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom