3 Reasons To Rest More (and Why I’m Taking Time Off)

{image: Igor Yaruta / 123RF Stock Photo}

{image: Igor Yaruta / 123RF Stock Photo}

You know the moment you’re packed and ready to go on a fun weekend trip, and you get that call or email that yanks you back to work instead?

That’s what June’s done in my family. The last weeks of school always turn my kids into squirrelly, distracted students and worse-than-usual chore doers. But this year, we’ve got the bonus panic of a middle schooler with learning disabilities, whose end-of-year stress is pinching the whole family.

And, in a delightful twist, I just got word from the publisher of my second book that 220 pages of edits are due in the next 3 weeks.

May I take what’s behind curtain number 2 instead, Bob?

Nope. This is life right now. Which means it’s time to bring out the big guns: a certain four-letter-word that’s hard for us mamas to utter most days: REST. Here’s why:

Rest prevents injury.

Anyone who exercises understands this, because anyone who’s exercised knows the un-joy of sore muscles! We work out to build strength and endurance—to cultivate overall physical health—and we rest to ensure our efforts actually bear fruit. Resting a day or two between strength-training workouts allows enough time for the deliberately broken down muscle fibers to mend and grow with training (what we want). Inadequate rest can lead to injury and make training ineffective (the opposite of what we want, especially after working a miracle to get to the gym in the first place!)

The same is true as we’re building a project, relationship, or life change. Rest prevents the emotional injury in us and others that happens so easily when we’re burned out. {tweet this}

Rest gives action more impact.

Dave Longo, pianist and musical coach says, “The thoughtful usage of pauses [rests] goes hand in hand with good communication.” Since music is communication, the rules apply to it as much as to speaking. When there’s no rest in a piece of music, the notes blur together and lose impact. With strategic rests, music is memorable, emotional, and powerful.

How does this relate to rest in other areas of life? Consider this: how many times have you won an argument by talking without pausing to listen, reflect, or let a good point you’ve made settle in the other person’s heart? I’d wager it’s been rare, if ever.

We’ve got to allow rests in parts of life that need creativity. Without them, our tune goes flat. {tweet this}

Rest reminds us we aren’t alone.

When we intentionally plan rest into a day, season, conversation, or venture, we loosen our grip on those things enough to see we’re not as crucial as we thought (whew!) and that what’s been stressing us out isn’t as big a deal as it seemed. In other words, rest gives perspective. It opens us up possibilities that we’d likely have missed while white-knuckling it through intense times. It allows us to hear God’s heartbeat for us, our lives, and the relationships and projects we’re invested in.

Rest also helps us more clearly see the people we love, and gives us space to make memories we’ll need for the faster-paced moments that return when the rest stops.

A growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity — and that skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion.” – Phyllis Korkki, The New York Times

Because this month demands creativity and productivity in my family and writing, I’m taking the rest of June off here at my blog. I’m leaving space in our schedules to make rest a priority and to kick off the summer with gusto.

Looking forward to seeing you here again in July!

-Laurie

Sources for this post:

How Much Rest Between Workouts for Muscle Growth?” LiveStrong.com, August 18, 2013.

“Without the Music Rest, What’s Left?” Music Amore: Showing the Adult Piano Student How To Unleash the Creative Genius Within.

“To Stay on Schedule, Take a Break,” Phyllis Korkki, The New York Times, June 16, 2012.