When we ask people how they are doing they typically say they are tired or busy. If we dig a bit deeper and ask why, they usually respond with things like:
“Oh man, my boss is so demanding.”
"This project is exhausting.”
“I am running always from meeting to meeting.”
It doesn’t get any better when we ask about home life or the weekends:
“I am zapped from all the soccer games and a dance recitals.”
“My spouse has me running all around town for errands.”
Most weeks it feels like rest is just a pipe dream. But, here's the thing: You control your rest. Not your boss. Not your spouse. Not your kids.
It's easy to focus on circumstances or other people and put the blame on them for our tiredness. The truth is, we can’t control our boss or the start time of the crazy early soccer game. However, we do control our rest. We control our downtimes. We control our in-between times.
Is Real Rest Even Possible?
Yes, you have a demanding job and crazy schedule. You are not alone. Reality is we want a challenging job and a full schedule because, when executed well, this is how we thrive, have greater impact and live life to the full.
However when not executed well, we arrive at the destination with an empty tank and a fractured family and friend network. We take to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if it was really worth it.
The great news is rest IS possible. You can make changes and improvements now. And don't worry, we aren't cancelling your meetings or kids’ soccer games, but instead providing simple ideas of how to build rest into your life with your current job and schedule demands. These are little things that can make a huge difference!
Where to start
Here are three places to take control and start cultivating rest into your life:
1. Your Commute
One thing we all have in common is a commute to and from work. What does your commute look like? Are you arriving at work or home rested and happy or stressed and frustrated?
Take a look at how you spend time during your commute. Are you getting worked up about the conversation on NPR? Are you getting angry about the sports radio conversations? Are you listening to celebrity updates on Top 40 radio?
There is a time and place for the above. It is good to stay current on the outside world, and occasionally singing along to a Bruno Mars song! However, not if you're already in a tired or stressed state.
We often say that during rest is when revelation happens. You can create that environment on your commute. We've all heard how great ideas come from the shower and there is reason for that. No phones are ringing, emails being read, babies crying, bosses or spouses talking. We can create the shower mindset in our commute, minus the water and nakedness!
Next time in the car, turn off the radio and ask yourself, ‘What am I going after today?” and “What am I grateful for today?”. Use this downtime to play spiritual, meditation, or classical music to calm your heart and mind and allow your brain to rest….and maybe you'll even wander into some great ideas!
2. Your workday
Now that you are at the office, take a look at how you spend a typical day. Do you tend to get sucked into the busyness vacuum, running from meeting to meeting, or spend hours drowning in emails? There are ways to cultivate slices of downtime to allow our minds to rest.
We can have intentionality in between our meetings. Instead of walking like a zombie from one meeting to the next, have a rest mindset. Skip scrolling through social media, and spend time asking yourself: What are you grateful for in the last meeting? What are you optimistically expectant of in the next meeting?
It's also important to break up your routine when working on the computer. Create short breaks every hour or so. Get up and grab a water. Walk around the building. Pray or meditate for 5 minutes. Having a 10 minute fruitful conversation with a co-worker instead of just talking about the weather or the latest sports game. Our minds need to take breaks in order to be more efficient and productive.
3. Your weeknights and weekends
Finally, take a look at your weeknights and weekends. You may have the occasional project you need to crank out or a travel schedule or your kid's soccer game to go attend. Try thinking through how you can redeem these times.
What does the commute look like to the soccer game? Are you and your kids having intentional conversations? The car ride is great time to utilize! Instead of music or video games, start a conversation. Fill their minds with love, affirmations, and life lessons.
Our family has a great time watching “So You Think You Can Dance”. However, if we're not careful we can waste the weeknights and weekends watching too much. Next time you are watching TV, think how is this fruitful and fulfilling for the Kingdom? Are you growing your mind and heart or just vegging out?
It's also helpful to know your wiring and determine ways to rest that fuel you, instead of drain you. I am an extrovert, so I've found that if I watch a sports game by myself and my team loses, I'm mad that I wasted my time. However if I watch that exact same game with a buddy over beers and great conversation, then I'm actually in a great mood even though my team lost.
For introverts, like my wife, reading a book or watch a favorite movie are great places of rest and recharging.
An Ongoing Process
We work with clients on recalibrating their work and rest often because it is ongoing and requires accountability along the way. If you don’t control your schedule, then it will control you. If you need help, contact us or subscribe to our blog and we'll come alongside you!