Everyone take a deep breath with me…. now exhale.
The holidays are over.
No more parties.
No more decorating.
No more gift-wrapping.
But I already feel it creeping in.
The New Year’s Resolutions… The goal-setting:
Diet. Lose Weight.
Get 10,000 steps a day. No, let’s try 20,000!
Exercise more. Or as is my usual case: exercise at all.
Be more organized.
Throw away old toys.
Clean off my desk. Control the paper tornado.
In general, get my LIFE together.
It’s a new year. I can do it all! A fresh start!
And the holiday stress is back, it just has a new name.
While all of these are valuable, (who doesn’t want a life that’s “together”?), and I’m actually excited about each of them, the thing that we don’t often plan into our schedule is REST.
I’m talking, do-nothing, almost-makes-you-crazy because you see all the laundry piles and your fingers can’t resist folding it, REST.
In our home, we decided that it was a vital part of our yearly planning to plan time to rest. This comes in the form of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly intentional time to relax and enjoy life.
Rest can look like a lot of different things. (Sleep being my favorite. Bed = Favorite.)
The basic definition of rest in our house is to cease working, stop accomplishing, start enjoying. We allow ourselves to do the things we love, the things that recharge us and the things that help us enjoy one another.
Daily, this looks like treating myself to a cup of real coffee at a real coffee place and enjoying it for 5 minutes before someone asks for yet another snack. Or dabbling a little on a craft project that I’ve started and, bless you my husband, never finished but would like to finish someday. Or reading an article or 1.5 pages of a book that I like. (again, snack)
Weekly, means that setting aside an afternoon, for us it’s Sunday (our Sabbath), where we don’t do anything we would “normally” do. No laundry, no dishes, no sweeping/mopping/vacuuming. We just LEAVE IT. Leave it all. For those who are like me and like an organized home, this used to STRESS ME OUT. I saw work everywhere. Work that was undone. And it did not make me restful.
However, I quickly realized that if I couldn’t leave something undone for an afternoon – for a mere 3-4 hours – then it was controlling me rather than me being in control of it. Laundry? I can do it Monday. It will still be there. When I realized that, and started giving myself the permission to rest, I could enjoy the day with no guilt. I could enjoy playing with 1,284 legos on the floor with my kids with no guilt. (You’d better believe at the end of the day though, those go back in the box… quickly.)
Monthly, we try to do something fun as a family: go to the zoo or science museum, visit grandparents, ride the train, go out for ice cream (okay, that happens more like, weekly)… something out of the ordinary and sheerly for the fun of it.
Yearly, we try to do two things: take a week for family vacation, and take a week or so (all in a row or split up) with just the two of us, to build our marriage. When it’s just the two of us, we do take the time to plan all of those other things: our physical goals for exercise and eating right, our marriage goals for how to communicate better, our family goals on how to train up our children and enjoy each other, our personal goals (read a book this year, what?!), even our spiritual goals on how we want to grow in the coming year.
So, what does rest practically look like for me as a mom? On a Sunday of rest, it looks like a sink full of dishes, a dryer that is full of clean clothes from yesterday, and a playroom that is a mess. It looks like a Fitbit that only has 4,167 steps on it instead of the usual 12,986. It looks like dismissing the to-do list and tasks to enjoy my family and play a board game.
And maybe even sit down for a minute.
Or pee by myself.