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Rest Routine

Written by: Kelly Phillips, MDiv, MSW
Rest Routine

Memorial Day has come and gone, and summer is upon us. This season has a way of disrupting our routines. Summer jobs and internships are in full swing, camps have started, ended, and started again, vacations are booked, and if it’s not Henry’s routine dental cleaning then you’re due for your annual mammogram. Is Peter’s birthday party this weekend or next weekend? Is it Dad’s weekend or Mom’s weekend? How late did you stay up last night? Did you have pizza for dinner…again? Why is it that I seem to hit my daily move goal by walking the premises of the restaurant with my toddler? Have you had a lingering cough for over a month now, too?!

If you are asking one or more of these questions (or could add your own to this list), how does it feel to have such a load on your plate?

Do you feel rushed? Overwhelmed? Exhausted? Sick? Maybe guilty?

When asked, how are you, common filler responses might sound like: “Good!”, “OK.”, or “Fine.” More than I would like to admit, I find myself responding with: “Busy.” The cultural norm seems to be that being busy is essential to success or productivity.

I am doing well because I am busy.

Busy schedules can cause us to feel anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted, ill, and even guilty. The opposite of busy is rest, and rest can also cause us to feel uncomfortable. If you are resting, you might think you are not successful or productive. You might think you are lazy or even worse failing.

In our perpetually harried lives, rest interrupts the chaos and calls us to be still. It is through rest or stillness that we can restore ourselves. Rest doesn’t have to mean sitting in silence, staring at the ceiling or being alone. It can look like sleeping in, a long walk, a bike ride, yoga, opening a good book, getting a massage (a personal favorite!), family game night, dinner with friends or maybe sitting on the porch with your partner. The lack of rest has profound consequences on our health, our job performance, our relationships, and our happiness. In preparation for the holidays ahead, take a moment to be still and reflect on a new set of questions:

Is rest part of your routine?
What does rest look like for you?
How might you feel as you are being restored?