We don’t rest with intention. We do whatever comes to us at the moment, even if it isn’t the most effective thing to help us rest. And we don’t typically engage rest in the physical spaces where we best experience it.
Rest applies to four major aspects of who we are as people. When we choose to rest, we need to focus on spirit, soul, body, and relationships.
That sounds deep. What does it really mean?
There are activities that help us to rest more effectively and help us step away from the work we are doing. This type of break allows us to experience rest in different parts of our being, and when we focus on one rest-activity for a specific part of us, it helps us jump back into work with energy and focus.
Give Your Spirit a Break
For many of us, we have some sort of spiritual practice, and this plays a role in our daily lives. One important way to experience rest is by taking a break for our spirit. If we have a fast-paced, stressful, conflict-driven profession, then this will be especially important for us.
When we rest with a focus on our spirit, we spend our breaks from work reading spiritual texts, praying, meditating, and journaling. We focus our attention on something greater than ourselves.
In this type of rest, it helps us gain perspective on the work we do and the people we are interacting with at any given time. It also provides centering of our identity other than one prescribed by work or others.
Here are some ways we can rest our spirit:
· Read the Bible or Spiritual Text
· Pray or meditate
· Sing worship music
· Listen to a sermon or spiritual teaching
Learn to Feed Your Soul
Our souls and minds are who we are emotionally and intellectually. And when we learn to rest, we need to focus on how we restore our souls. We need to feed our souls.
Feeding our souls means finding restful ways to stimulate positive emotions and encourage our intellect. We can do this by learning, being inspired by outside forces, or thinking of our future.
And in these ways, it gives our souls something to hold onto if we are emotionally frazzled or intellectually bored.
Here are some ways we can rest our souls:
· Read a book
· Read inspirational stories or articles
· Review motivational quotes
· Daydream about your future
· Learn or develop a new skill
Move Your Body to Experience Rest
Most of us work in sedentary conditions, sitting at a desk where everything is at our fingertips. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves only moving a few times throughout the day. This is especially true if we have a heavy workload.
To find rest sometimes, we need to get up and move around. Moving gets the blood flowing through our bodies and helps release endorphins to regulate our physical being. It also relieves pain we begin to experience due to stress or from sitting all day.
Simply getting ourselves moving helps us deal with stressful conversation or situations by releasing the stress with activity as endorphins begin to be released within us. And sometimes we need to stretch our muscles to feel a little bit better to go back to work.
Here are some ways we can rest our bodies by moving:
· Go for a brisk walk around your office building
· Do some stretching or yoga
· Perform some light exercise at the gym
· Slowly walk through a park or someplace which brings you joy
· Eat a healthy snack while on your walk
Cultivate Your Relationships to Find Rest
Lastly, our relationships are important to us. The best way to rest is connecting with those whom we love or care about. This may be family, friends, a mentor or a colleague.
These are the people who build us up and encourage us. Stay away from those who bring us down or can be negative in nature. These people will make you feel more exhausted rather than bring you rest.
It is always good to have a few people or relationships that you can call upon when you are taking a break. They will allow you to think of something that isn't work related and help you deepen those connections a little bit every day.
Here are some ways we can rest with relationships:
· Call your family
· Text a friend
· Connect with a mentor
· Write a letter or email to a friend
· Grab coffee with a coworker and don’t talk about work
Which of these things will you start doing today?