Rest times seven

Rest times seven

Isn’t rest simply sitting still or sleeping?

Have you found yourself sleeping or being still a lot but feeling more exhausted than ever?

Maybe the rest you’re getting isn’t the kind of rest you need!

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am fascinated with the biblical significance of numbers. It is well known by many in the Christian faith that the number seven represents completeness and perfection. Couple that factor with our recent focus on the body/soul/spirit depletion rampant in our society right now and it makes sense why the IG post shown here grabbed my attention!

The timing was perfect as we had decided, only days prior, to take some time off and I was in the midst of trying to plan that week away to be most replenishing. From the other side of that week off, I want to share how I used this information in hopes that practical examples help you apply this insight to your own life…

Step One: Make the decision to stop.  No matter what kind of rest we will discuss – all of it requires that we stop what we are doing.  As a small business owner, that is particularly difficult because we do not have a guaranteed salary.  If we aren’t seeing clients, we are not earning income.  With recent financial punches fresh in our memories, it didn’t seem possible to step away for a week but we knew that if we failed to walk our talk, not only would we pay a price far greater than money but our clients would be negatively affected as well.  We’re not advocating reckless abandon.  We simply know that we must count every cost: health, sanity, relational and functional – not just financial.

Step Two: Planning.  What I am about to share did not happen automatically.  I was already working on the details of our time off but when I saw this post, I ran with it to help ensure that our time would generate maximum benefit.

Physical – I chose several restorative yoga moves shown to address exhaustion and began with a 20 minute Savasana on the eve of our first day off.  I slept in that next day and made it my goal to stay in bed as much as possible all day.  I had already planned out my nutrition for the day so it was easy for me to get my meals and go back to lying down.  I ended the night with a full yoga practice and for the rest of the week, I ended each day with an extended restorative pose before getting into bed on time.

Mental – I logged out of all my social media accounts so that I could give my brain a break from all that is wrong with the world.  I committed one day to completing work tasks that had been plaguing me undone for weeks.  I picked up books I haven’t had time to read – giving me a chance to enjoy learning new concepts for my work as well as diving into fiction I love.  Throughout the week, I tuned into the playlists I already have.  During my nightly restorative pose, I used a beautiful bilateral worship music album.  Bilateral techniques are used to help heal our brains that have been wounded by the stresses and trauma of life.

Emotional – If you’ve followed us for any length of time, you know that we talk about grieving a lot.  It is a vital component of our response to the challenges and changes of life, but is a process we are not typically taught how to move through.  We made a commitment during this week off to utilize the same strategies that we teach our clients – focusing on the losses of the past two years.  Since Justin and I spent this time together, we were able to process our experiences with each other.  Another option is to schedule time with a friend, therapist or mentor who holds space well for your thoughts and feelings.

Social – The goal here is balance.  If you spend a majority of your time alone, then rest would entail spending more time around life-giving others.  As therapists, we spend the majority of our time interacting with others so we chose to spend our time alone.  Even as a couple, we spent a good bit of our week off in separate areas of the house.

Creative – I regularly keep an art journal so creativity and play is already an important part of my life.  I had grand plans for painting one of the many blank canvases I have piled up but I ended up just coloring in pages with my watercolor brush pens.  It was about play, not creative productivity.

Spiritual – We chose to spend a couple of days at St Leo Abbey which turned out to be the best decision of our time off.  Staying in their guest house places you in an atmosphere of quiet reflection.  We took the option of joining a couple of their prayer services where the Benedictine monks sing the psalms as prayers and ate meals with the brothers who live there.  This is where we leaned in to our grief work, making it a painful but deeply healing time.  Being away from home allowed us to truly focus internally and connect with God in ways we struggle to do in the every day.  The Abbey also has beautiful grounds on which to wander and commune with nature.

Sensory –  It is amazing how logging off all the “apps” automatically creates quiet.  I log out of everything on my phone because it is such an ingrained habit to tap on icons.  When I take this automatic action, I am faced with login prompts which immediately remind me, “I’m not doing this right now”.  Each time this happened, it was a reminder to simply sit in quiet and ask myself what I was looking for.  What do I need in this moment?  We also spent a quiet day in what I call our “happy place” – Bok Tower Gardens.  We have a membership which makes it an easy decision to go.  This membership also gives us free or significantly discounted access to gardens and museums around the country.

Did this week solve all of our problems and give us endless energy?  No.  The world, with all it’s ills, was there all along but we return to our work with mental, emotional and physical energy restored.  Our warning lights had come on and now we are able to get back on the road without alarm bells ringing.  We will take what we’ve learned about rest, forward into better management of ourselves as well as into our work with clients.

Hopefully, these thoughts give you ideas for identifying the type of rest you actually need and ways in which you can access it.  You don’t have to take a week – start small…even five minutes dedicated to a specific type of rest is a gift your body, soul and spirit will benefit from!

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