Rest is an obvious but overlooked necessity, vital not only to our physical health but our mental and spiritual health as well.
by Christine McParland
Rest is an obvious but overlooked necessity, vital not only to our physical health but our mental and spiritual health as well. Most days, we have little time for a break from our busy schedules, but you can find ways to rest even when you’re short on time. Take a break (or a nap) when you can, but on your busier days try some of these ideas for easy ways to rest your body, mind, and spirit.
1. Laugh out loud.
We’re not talking about just “lol” but actual, physical laughter. Laughter eases stress and releases feel-good endorphins in your body, providing rest on the busiest days with hardly any time at all! Allow yourself to laugh with your coworkers when someone shares a joke or with your kids when they discover something funny. If you need a little help to get started, look up some good, clean humor online, such as a short video by a Christian comedian or a funny meme that a friend shared. When you have time, reading a humorous book (like this memoir of a Southern gal) is a fun way to rest. Even if you need to “fake it ‘til you make it,” forcing yourself to laugh can still provide some stress-relieving benefits. LOL!
2. Try a new way to pray.
Prioritizing prayer can sometimes feel like another obligation on our overpacked schedule. If you find your quiet time to be more stressful than restful, try something different. Ancient spiritual practices, such as contemplative prayer, can help you enjoy quiet time with God as a way to rest in his presence. If you’re newer to these older traditions, a handy guide like The Soul at Rest can take you step-by-step into this new way of praying and help you find the rest your soul needs.
3. Stay in and cook.
Many people find cooking to be a relaxing and even meditative practice; but even if you disagree, it’s hard to argue with the satisfaction of enjoying a delicious meal you prepared yourself. Even making a homemade snack or dessert can provide a break in your day and encourage you to take a few moments to pause and enjoy this sensory experience. Need some inspiration? Chocolate For Your Soul provides tasty, healthy recipes as well as scripture and devotional reflections on enjoying God. What a delicious way to rest!
4. Read a book.
You might already find reading as a way to rest and relax, but we’re not talking about your to-read stack or that latest thriller novel. Branch out and try something new, such as a classic you haven’t previously read or a children’s or fantasy title. Need some ideas? Book Girl not only talks about the virtues and benefits of a reading life, but also includes twenty different themed reading lists for inspiration.
5. Color away your stress.
No longer just for children, coloring books have become popular with adults as well (and we’re loving it!). Few things are more relaxing than filling in beautiful designs with bright colors. The process becomes even more meditative when combined with scripture and devotional thoughts, as in Restore My Soul. You can even color in a journaling Bible to make your quiet time more relaxing and enjoyable!
6. Look at something beautiful.
Turning off the TV and unplugging from technology is a great way to rest and recharge, but often we don’t know what to do with that blank space. Try filling it with beauty! Take a walk at a local forest preserve or park, or just step outside and enjoy the nature of your own neighborhood. If the weather doesn’t permit an outdoor excursion, a book of nature photography can help shift your perspective from hurry and stress to beauty and rest.
Try one or more of these easy ways to rest and start getting more “R&R” today! If you have an easy or creative way to rest, please share it with us in the comments below.