From the beginning of creation, rest has been critical. The Bible tells us that God rested on the seventh day from all of His labors. When He created the law, a day of rest was a part of those commands. Rest is necessary for our bodies and minds to function correctly.
For most people, there are some challenges when it comes to rest. Whether we are looking at our daily need to sleep, a weekly time to rest and relax, or a block of time set aside to get away from the everyday routine, some things keep us from resting properly.
I see four common barriers that keep most of us from resting as we should. Usually, one of these is dominant in our lives, but they can change depending on our situations. Identifying your current barriers may open the door for better rest in your life.
What Needed To Be Done
Successful people have things they are working on every day. They probably keep a running list of things to do. Most of us get to the end of our days without completing everything on our list. We attempt to rest, but our brain will not shut down because we are thinking about all of the things that did not get crossed off the list. The same is true for a day off or a vacation. We end up wallowing in guilt about the things we needed to do instead of appreciating the time we have.
What Needs To Be Done
Let’s say you completed all of your tasks for one day or one week. The next thing that happens is to think about the things you need to do. They may not have made your list for this week, but they certainly will be there next. We stress about Monday on Sunday or, worse yet, Friday. We spent the first two days of a vacation worrying about what we should have done, and we are spending the last two days consumed with what we will need to do when we return. Don’t let tomorrow’s to-do list rob you of today’s rest.
What Could Be Done
This one can be helpful at times, but it can also rob you of needed rest. I notice this most when I am away for a few days. My mind begins to clear. The new location opens up thinking that might usually be blocked. I start to think about all of the things I want to accomplish and the organizations that need my participation. Unlocking new ideas and creating new visions can be critical for your life and your health. But so is rest. If you are not careful, an idea to jot down for consideration at a later time will turn into a four-hour brainstorming session, and the rest starts to disappear. One way I try to work around this is to record the idea or thought immediately with a reminder for a day when I get back. I gain the idea but don’t lose the rest.
What You Are Doing
This one robs most of us. The food we eat affects our rest. The time we waste affects our rest. What we do just before trying to rest affects whether we can or not. Our phones are usually the last things we look at before closing our eyes. All of these things affect our brain and our body’s ability to shut down and rest. Having a nighttime routine or a vacation routine where you wind down before sleeping or leaving can elevate the rest you get.
Rest is a medicine; medicine for our brain and our body. It can also be medicine for relationships and organizations. You are much more valuable when you are healthy and rested than you are ragged and worn.