Work-life balance has been a hot topic recently. In fact, “burnout” has become a medical condition, according to the World Health Organization. It’s not just top executives that experience it either but everyone from CEOs to stay-at-home moms. So while a work-life balance is important, I’d argue that we should be striving for a healthier work and REST balance.
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When you hear the word “rest” what comes to mind? I think of naps, sitting on the couch doing nothing, or getting a full eight hours of sleep. But rest encompasses so much more. Rest means restoration. Restoring your body, mind, and sometimes soul. It means doing things that fill you up again and restore your energy.
When I worked in Congress, I was constantly around people and activity. To restore my energy, I needed to take some time to be by myself. I needed to be alone with my thoughts. So, during my periods of “rest”, I would read books on my balcony, sit by the pool, or even clean. These activities let me regain my strength.
Now that I am a stay-at-home mom things are a little different. I am no longer chasing down people to approve a press release or setting up an interview. But with a baby, it is still hard to be alone with your thoughts. Other than naps, I have to give her my full attention. I need to make sure is happy, clean, and not trying to eat out of the cat box. It is a different kind of tiredness but can be as exhausting.
I’m learning that I don’t always need to physically rest to find balance either. But a good nights sleep never hurt anyone! I find that I am refreshed after hanging out with my family and doing fun things together. This not only brings me rest but a lot of joy. It gives me the energy I need to start the next day again. What brings you rest?
If you feel like you are overwhelmed or burnt-out I’d recommended working your way down this list to find balance in your life again.
Forget Work-Life Balance, Find a Work-Rest Balance
1.) Make Sure Your Basic Needs Are Being Met
I love the story of Elijah in 1 Kings. He is fleeing Jezebel who has vowed to kill him for killing the prophets at Baal. At one point he is so tired and worn out he throws himself on the ground and says, “Kill me now, God!” and falls asleep under a tree.
An angel then wakes him up, gives him food to eat and water to drink, and then he falls asleep again. The angel wakes him up a second time, and says, “get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” He eats and drinks again. The story says he was, “strengthened by that food, and traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.”
This isn’t a story about Elijah’s soul or his trust in God. It is much simpler than that. The man needed food and sleep! Before we can find true rest we also need to make sure we are taking care of our basic needs. Unless you are a parent with a newborn, go to bed early if you need more sleep. Eat nourishing foods that help you feel good. Drink more water! These are so basic, but often we neglect these. Once we meet these basic needs we also will have the energy for our journey ahead.
2.) Cut Out What Drains You
As you go throughout your day, jot down everything you do. And I mean everything – this is important. Later, write down how each task, errand, or activity made you feel. If there are tasks that are draining your energy and time – cut them out.
I have to use social media for my blog, but I do not need to endless scroll throughout the day. I am trying to be more intentional about scheduling my social media use. If it’s not scheduled, I am learning to stay off!
Other time-wasters for me are endlessly cleaning my kitchen counters and other similar tasks. Now, I schedule a time block of 15 minutes to complete these small housekeeping tasks. It is amazing how much these two tricks are saving me time throughout the day. Friends have even told me that they had to leave a committee or group for a period of time to regain their energy.
Find out what’s keeping you from resting today and say goodbye (at least for now.) A good work-life or rest balance means knowing when to say no.
3.) Set Goals For the Day/Week And Then STOP Once Finished
After creating the world, sky, animals, plants, and humans, God rested on the seventh day. Was He tired? No. He didn’t rest because He needed to sleep. He rested because He had completed the task.
We need to follow His example. Unlike God, we are finite beings who need rest. But we have a hard time taking rest when we need it. Why? We fear others will surpass us if we stop. Someone else will get the promotion. Someone else’s company will grow faster. We will miss opportunities. We will miss making memories.
But here’s the thing, there will always be more opportunities, work to do, and messes to clean up. At some point we have to tell ourselves we completed a task at hand, and now we are resting because it’s done. That is why I urge you to use a planner and write out 3-5 tasks you’d like to complete each day. Once they’re done, take that much-needed break. If we don’t the list will never end but our energy will and we’ll burn out.
4.) Plan Creative Pursuits Weekly
I got this idea from the 12 Week Year. I recommend you read the book if you haven’t already. It starts out a little dry but I promise it turns out great. In it, the authors tell us to carve out time for creative pursuits.
To find true rest, we also need to do things each week that feed our souls. I do my devotions each morning to make sure I give the day to God. Otherwise, once a week I schedule an hour to work on something creative. Yes, schedule. If we don’t schedule these things we won’t find time to do them. We need to make time. I use this time to work on a new DIY project, whip up an all-natural face scrub, read a book, etc.
Perhaps being with people fills your soul. If that’s the case, make sure to schedule some quality time with friends or family.
Last weekend, my husband and baby and I went to this adorable park with a small farm, Wizard of Oz playground, and trails. To me, that was just the sort of “rest” I needed. Which one of these tasks do you need to devote time to the most this week? For me, I’ll be focusing on cutting what drains me and planning creative pursuits!