We as a society are terrible at resting!
Last year, 768 million days of vacation went unused in the United States. Can you believe that? And when we do finally take some time off, we don’t always get that relaxation and rest we’re looking for.
Even on vacation, our minds wander to our ever-growing to-do lists, or we’re always running to the next activity or event. We overbook the same way we do in our day-to-day lives. This doesn’t even include all the effort we put into preparation before the trip and then the clean-up and getting back into a routine after.
This is probably why we always feel like we need a vacation from our vacations!
I’m guilty of this too! For some reason, I always seem to have one eye on work stuff. So, here are three ways I’m trying to work on resting in my own life:
1. We are incorporating the idea of a sabbath into our family’s routine.
Regardless of whether you’re religious or not, this simply means taking a rest day each week where we commit to cutting out any of the extra. We don’t really understand how much the constant “ding” of our devices impacts our ability to rest our minds. Our family has committed to putting all technology away for one day each week and completely unplugging. If you’re worried about people getting a hold of you, you can let them know ahead of time.
We also eliminate extra-curricular activities like sports and play dates on our sabbath day. I also put away my to-do list, which is really hard because there is ALWAYS laundry, grocery shopping, or food prep with a family of 7. Instead, I have dinner ready the day before so all I have to do is stick it in the oven. It can be hard to get into this cadence of doing nothing but resting and spending time together, but give it a chance and take your time adjusting to it! I promise the rewards will be worth it!
2. Requesting a separate phone for work.
All of my work calls, texts, and emails are going to a separate phone that I can physically put away when I’m on vacation. When my work meshes into my personal device, it’s hard to completely separate myself. How often have you gotten sucked into a work email that leads to an hour long project (or longer) on the weekend or over your vacation?
This may not be possible for every job, but as more and more places are opening up to the idea of remote work, your employer may better understand the importance of that separation between work and personal life. If you can’t have a separate device, set boundaries around your work hours that you don’t break and turn off notifications when you can.
3. Try to carve out some time to quiet your mind and enjoy your surroundings each day.
It helps to find that one thing that’s truly life-giving. For some, it’s a new hobby. For others, it’s nature or taking a walk. Whatever it is for you, I encourage you to carve out more time to pursue what fills up your tank. And of course, I always go back to meditation. I always find that sitting in this peace and quiet is refreshing and rejuvenating for me.
I hope these three tips help you on your journey to slowing down and resting more effectively. And don’t forget to take your vacation days! You've earned them!
If you have other tips for rest you want to share with me, I’d love to hear in the comments below.