After a very full year, I’m looking forward to being intentional about rest in 2019. Don’t get me wrong. I’m crazy thankful for everything I’ve experienced in 2018, but as 2019 is here, I’m hungry for a change of pace. It’s no surprise that when I think of 2019, I daydream about margin. About days with no plans, spent at home with my family. About reconnecting with loved ones and tuning into my creativity. When I think of 2019, I think about REST.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that rest and dreams and work go hand in hand. I have a lot of ideas about what I want to accomplish in 2019, and I’m excited about all of them. I’m working on a new book (more on that soon), I’m eager to get even more settled in our new home (and, of course, simplify it). But I know that to do all of these things — to do them WELL, with passion and energy and thoughtfulness — I need to prioritize rest. To write a book I’m proud of, I need those days at the beach. To make my house a home, I need to connect with my family and my creativity. To do my best at work, I need rest.
It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it? We’ve all bought into the lie — I know I have — that success always equals “doing.” But if there’s anything I’ve learned in seeking a simplified life, it’s that rest is the foundation for meaningful days. To be the people we want to be, to accomplish our dreams and goals, it’s vital we have margin. Because without a culture of rest in our homes and lives, we’ll have nothing left to offer in other spaces of our lives.
Now, I’m all about the occasional cat nap (or three-hour snooze). But what I’m talking about when I say rest is SOUL rest. Rest that fuels you. Rest that inspires you. Rest that connects you to what matters and frees you up from everything else.
What does it look like to really rest? How can we take steps to incorporate breaks? Here are a few things to think about — and a couple of practical things to add into your routine to promote rest.
Rethink “rest.” To infuse our lives with nourishing rest, we need to change how we think about it. If you feel guilty about taking time for yourself when you could be enjoying coffee with a friend, or saying “no” to a night out with your friends, you’re not alone. I’ve been there, too. But here’s the thing: You will have SO much more to give your family and your friends and just about everyone else when you take some time to breathe. The last thing the kids need is a tired, snappy mom who would rather be somewhere else, right? When you’re promoting rest in your life, you’re becoming the best version of yourself — which is the farthest thing from selfish I can think of.
Schedule regular self-care dates. Now that you see how rest can benefit everyone in your life, give yourself permission to step away. Be intentional about infusing your life with things that light you up. Remember, YOU get to decide what feels restful to you. But that means you’ll have to be ruthless about incorporating those things into your routine. Feel your best when you’re put together? Get a manicure (or just take a long shower!). Craving some quiet and calm? Walk through Target with your favorite coffee. Does connecting with a friend sound restful? Meet up with your closest friends for a night out. Chances are, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to give your FULL self, which is better for everyone.
Create a home that facilitates rest. A thoughtfully designed home isn’t just about appearances. The atmosphere you live in can play a huge part in how you feel, including how easy it is to rest. Think about how difficult it is to relax in an environment that feels cluttered, or the way a harsh paint color affects your emotions. What would it look like to create an atmosphere of REST in your home? Whether you focus on de-cluttering your bedroom and living spaces or stock up your bathroom with scents that relax you, find a few practical ways to bring a little serenity into your home. Candles, blankets, family photos, a place to put your feet up … these are all highly underrated. Make your home a place that refuels you and encourages rest.
Declutter your schedules and routines. You all know by now that simplifying is a lifestyle, not a Saturday afternoon spent throwing out stuff (though we’re fans of that too). Once you’ve given your home some thought, take some steps toward simplifying your schedule. Anything that doesn’t add life or promote rest gets cut. Do what you can to create windows of margin in your schedule, and I promise you’ll thank yourself later.
Give yourself grace. We’ll get more into grace in the next post, but the principle here is that it’s never too late to find time for rest. The key here is to be honest with others, and yourself, about your needs. If you’re noticing your schedule is fuller than you’d like or a part of your work routine is wearing you down, you’re already halfway there! Remember: No one is expecting you to do it all. The standard isn’t perfection. It’s presence. So do whatever you can to protect your presence in your life, even if that means doing less or saying no.
A few other suggestions for a lifestyle of rest:
This playlist on Spotify is one of my favorites for lighting a candle and cozying up in my favorite robe or PJs with a cup of tea.
When sneaking away for a spay day isn’t realistic, a quick cat nap or a hot epsom salt bath will do the trick.
Pick a phone background that inspires you and reminds you to rest. We made this one for just that reason!