There’s a lot of talk about how to rest and self-care these days. And with the busyness of our culture, it really is no surprise.
Many of us feel like we are stressed out. Burnt out. And running on empty.
We know we need to rest. But we just aren’t really sure how to.
Not only that but sometimes it can feel selfish to focus on us and our need to rest. And by all means, our selfish hearts can definitely do this. We can make an idol of anything . . . including self-care.
But we also have to remember that we can’t pour from an empty cup.
When we are dealing with stressful feelings, it’s hard to be a blessing.
This is why we need to take the time to take care of ourselves and allow God to fill us up, so we can in turn take care of and love on the people around us.
There is a balance to everything.
We can make self-care all about us. Or we can make it about taking care of ourselves so we can do a better job of taking care of the people around us.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”-Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
How to properly rest your body.
The way you properly rest your body will depend on you and your personality. What works for one person may not work for another.
My son loves to rock climb. He finds it relaxing because it forces his busy mind to focus on one thing. Which he finds relieving and restful.
I, on the other hand, would not find rock climbing relaxing at all. I would find it to be exhausting. The very thought of doing something like that would stress me out.
What I find relaxing is sitting on the beach. Watching the waves and praying. (Which to my son with an overactive brain would be stressful.)
The point is to not assume that what works best for someone you know will work for you.
Look over the different types of rest below. Read through the examples and think about what you think would bring you rest.
Then try it.
If you don’t find it relaxing and restful . . . then try something else.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different things. Even things that aren’t on this list.
Because we are all different. So, we all rest in different ways.
But over time, with experimentation, and leaning on God to guide you . . . you will find the ways to rest that work best for you.
And by learning to rest, we can build up our physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental strength. Which in turns helps us deal better with the things life tries to throw at us.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”-Mark 6:31 NIV
What are the 7 types of rest?
So, what are some ways to rest?
Well, there are actually 7 different types of rest. And spending time resting in each of these areas can be very helpful, beneficial, and healing for our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.
1) How to rest “physically.”
Physical rest is simply taking a break from all the physical activities we do each day. This gives our bodies a break, prevents injury, and helps boost our immune system. Physical rest is especially important for those of us dealing with health issues and chronic illnesses.
Some examples of physical rest include:
- Taking a nap.
- Going to bed early or sleeping in.
- Putting your feet up and just closing your eyes for a few minutes.
- Lying down or sitting still.
- Laying in a hammock while reading a good book.
- Sitting on the beach while watching the waves.
- Getting a massage.
- Taking short breaks throughout our day.
2) How to rest “mentally.”
Learning how to rest your mind can be a little tricky, but it helps to start by taking a break from the things that stimulate us mentally.
Mental rest is not about not thinking. But about unplugging, slowing down, and focusing on the most important things.
By resting mentally, we can help our brains recharge, process, and prepare so that we are more productive, alert, and efficient when we get back to it all.
Some examples of mental rest include:
- Meditating on a Bible verse.
- Sitting in a dark room while breathing deeply and listening to calming music.
- Taking a break from social media, the news, or anything else that tends to get your mind racing.
- Going for a walk, rock climbing, or doing another physical activity that requires focus so your brain can rest from everything else.
3) How to rest “socially.”
By taking the time to rest socially we simply take a break from the social interactions that can drain us mentally and emotionally. (This type of rest is especially important for introverts, but everyone can benefit from it.)
Resting socially keeps us from burning out emotionally. Helps us to establish appropriate boundaries. And in the end, it allows us to be more supportive of those around us.
Because we can’t really be there for others if we aren’t emotionally and mentally healthy.
Some examples of social rest include:
- Spending time alone.
- Avoiding social situations.
- Turning off all notifications on your smart phone.
- Uninstalling all social media apps for a period of time.
- Letting friends and family know that you will be unavailable for a period of time you have set aside for social rest. (You don’t have to explain anything. Just tell them you are busy.)
- Blocking out one day a week to just stay at home and relax and recharge. (Yes, this may mean learning to say “no”.)
- Going for a solo picnic or hike.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”-Isaiah 26:3 NLT
4) How to rest “emotionally.”
By taking the time to rest emotionally we allow ourselves time and space to process our emotions. To think through the things we are feeling. And to allow God to reveal what is really going on in the depths of our hearts.
And by doing this we can find healing and peace.
Some examples of emotional rest include:
- Treating yourself to a spa day.
- Going for a walk or sitting outside in nature.
- Spending time alone.
- Doing what we can to avoid stressful situations.
- Going out for coffee and talking to a good friend we can trust.
- Setting boundaries around those who drain us emotionally.
- Practicing self-care.
- Spending an extended period of time with God so you can pour it all out before Him and then leave it all with Him.
“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’”-Exodus 33:14 NIV
5) How to find “sensory” rest.
Our worlds are busy and full of noise. We are constantly bombarded with lights, sounds, and other stimuli. This is why sensory rest can be so important.
It keeps us from being overwhelmed, overloaded, and overly stressed out by our overly busy environments.
Some examples of sensory rest include:
- Silencing your phone.
- Turning off all media for the day.
- Shutting off all the lights, lighting a candle, and spending time in prayer and meditation.
- Closing our eyes and taking deep breaths in and out.
- Spending time in a quiet room.
- Taking a bath.
- Listening to calming music.
“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.”-Psalm 37:7 NLT
6) How to enjoy “creative” rest.
Rest doesn’t always mean doing nothing. Sometimes it includes doing something as long as it is something that brings us joy. Taking creative rest allows our brains to explore new things and new ideas.
Which in turn can breathe fresh life into our hearts and souls.
Some examples of creative rest include:
- Taking a break from work.
- Doing something you enjoy such as writing, drawing, painting, cooking, or creating something that delights you.
- Pursuing a hobby.
- Trying something new that you’ve always wanted to do.
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.”-Exodus 20:8-10a NLT
7) How to rest “spiritually.”
We don’t just need to rest our bodies and minds. We also need to find rest for our souls. Because our souls can grow weary with all the things we deal with every, single day. And the hard seasons of life that inevitably come our way.
This is why we need spiritual rest.
Taking the time to spend time with our Heavenly Father allows us to pour out our hearts before Him. And to give it all over to Him.
We were never meant to do this life on our own. By resting spiritually, we can stop striving to carry our heavy burdens, and let Jesus help us.
Because is only in His strength that we can do anything. (Phil. 4:13)
Some examples of “spiritual” rest include:
- Observing a Sabbath day of rest one day a week.
- Praying and giving it all to God.
- Meditating on a special Bible verse or passage of Scripture.
- Engaging in praise and worship.
- Thanking God for all He has done.
- Spending time outside in nature while worshipping its Creator.
“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’”-Mark 2:27 NIV
What is the best way to take a rest?
The best way to take a rest is to figure out what works best for you and then set aside time to do so.
We have to:
- Schedule time to rest.
- Prioritize rest.
- Be intentional about finding ways to rest.
- Set boundaries.
- Disconnect from things that cause us stress.
- Experiment with the different types of rest and ways to rest to figure out what works best for us.
- Take breaks throughout our day.
- Observe a Sabbath day of rest one day a week.
- And make rest a habit.
God set an example for us on the importance of rest when He rested on the 7th day of creation.
He never asked us to do it all. To be it all. To accomplish it all. And in fact, He knows we can’t. And He knows we shouldn’t. Because that only leads to us feeling stressed, overwhelmed and burnt out.
Which is why He invites us to rest. To set aside time every day to sit still in His Presence.
Because rest is a gift from God . . . and He wants us to enjoy it!
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