We live in an overworked, overwhelmed, overburdened society – and I am over it.
Our nonstop schedules and never-ending to-do lists keep us moving from thing to thing to thing. There’s never time for a moment of rest or free time. And, if we do see a blank spot on our iCals, what do we do? Fill it with something else.
Another meeting to attend.
Another project to complete.
Another deadline to meet.
Another function to make an appearance at.
We complain about our busyness levels and go on about how there “aren’t enough hours in the day” and yet, we almost pride ourselves on all of our involvements, appointments and achievements.
We buy into this lie that full schedules equal productivity. If we’re going and doing and accomplishing all day long, we’re productive right? Not always.
Feeling Productive Doesn’t Mean You Actually Are Productive
While you may feel like a pro at adding things to your plate and crossing things off your list, something’s got to give. We can’t do it all. There’s no possible way that we can pack our schedules full and keep up with this extreme level of busy while never disappointing anyone, while properly taking care of our bodies, while getting enough sleep/rest. Something’s got to give.
Sure, you may feel productive… but perhaps your health is slipping. If you’re overdoing it at work, who has time for the gym? To go on a run? To meal prep or cook a healthy dinner? It’s easier to skip the workout, to pick up fast food on your way to a meeting in order to fit more in.
Sure, you may feel productive… but maybe you aren’t getting enough sleep at night. If you’re going to bed past midnight and waking up before the sun, your body isn’t getting the rest it needs in order to function properly. A New York Times article said, “spending more hours at work often leads to less time for sleep and insufficient sleep takes a substantial toll on performance.” It went on to say that the results of a study done on 400 employees showed that sleeping less than six hours each night resulted in on-the-job burnout.
Where Does Rest Come In?
We must slow down and allow rest to become a routine part of our days.
Of course we rest when we sleep. Sleeping allows our body to heal, repair and recharge in order to be prepared for the day ahead of us. Depriving your body of the necessary sleep it needs (most adults need 7-9 hours each night) does you no good.
But, rest doesn’t just have to happen when we go to bed. Rest looks different for everyone and needs to happen throughout our days and weeks in order to increase our happiness and productivity.
Pick up your favorite book. Go on a walk during your lunch break. Watch an episode of your favorite TV show. Grab a treat with a friend. Read the paper in a local coffee shop. Take your dog to the park. Journal about your day. Lay down for a mid-afternoon nap. Take a long lunch break.
We associate rest with laziness. We’re afraid that we’ll fall behind if we slow down. However, resting gives us the mental/emotional/physical breaks we need. This results in increased happiness, health and productivity.
God Designed Us to Rest
Not only is rest beneficial for us, but it is biblical. Exodus 31:17 says, “…in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”
The Lord conveys the importance of rest by proclaiming that the result of His rest was feeling refreshed. The Message version of this verse says, “he stopped and took a long, deep breath.” How many of us can’t remember the last time we took a long, deep breath?
Jesus also encourages us to find rest in Him. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
There are season of our lives that happen to be busier than others. There are times when our schedules fill up more than we’d like them to, and sometimes this is out of our control. It is comforting to know that regardless of what our planners look like, we can simply go to Jesus and He will give us rest.
Take some time to look at your day, your week, your month and figure out when you can prioritize moments of rest. Not only will it increase your productivity and happiness, but it is good for your soul.
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