The Joy and Necessity of Rest Days

When was the last time you spent an afternoon doing nothing? Or blocked off an entire day for only activities that you enjoy and want to do?

In many of the #HealthyInEveryLifeStage interviews, rest was identified as much more than sleep. It’s taking time to unwind and making time for those things that relax and energize you. I couldn’t agree more! After reading Sacred Rhythms a couple years ago and hearing this message, I finally understood why rest is so important—and an essential part of healthy living.

In taking small steps in my wellness journey, I committed to having NO ‘work’ plans on Sundays. If I found myself doing something I didn’t enjoy (hello cooking, dishes, laundry), I wouldn’t do it. Instead, I focused on things that energized me (naps, journaling, baths, hikes, yoga, etc.). I began to look forward to Sundays like I never had before.

While it feels AMAZING to relax, it’s actually not that easy to do. We like to be productive and get things done, and time always seems limited (because it is). For me, it took a dramatic shift in how I thought about my week and the importance of rest. I had to deliberately schedule rest time on my calendar and say no to any unappealing Sunday commitments. And I had to embrace an incomplete to-do list (this was definitely the hardest part for me!).

It took time to adjust, but the more I enjoyed my Sundays, the more motivated I was to guard them. They helped get me through the daily grind of the rest of the week, and I began to wonder how I had survived the previous 7-day cycle of hecticness. I found I had more energy as I began the week rested. It felt so good to get off the hamster wheel for a bit!

Resting is not meant to be stressful or a strict rule—if you can’t rest on Sundays, pick another day of the week. There will (of course) be times when something comes up that you have to do on your rest day. Don’t think about it as a constraint, but a glorious and better way to live—go ahead, give it a try! Even if you start with half a day during the week or blocking off shorter ‘rest times’ in your week/schedule, I think you’ll find that some rest is better than none!