Nature Knows Best: Give Me A Break!

In our culture, busyness seems to be glorified. Our plates are overflowing; so, what can we do about it?

In our culture, busyness seems to be glorified. Our plates are overflowing and I am not talking about with food this time. So, what can we do about it? I recently read a book that challenged my train of thought.

Rest is pivotal in maintaining health. Vacations are nice although studies indicate it takes several to have a lasting positive effect. Maybe we can try to unplug one day a week? Structure our days where we have some downtime and simply learn to say no to more things that could have a draining effect on our energy?

My husband and I have a motto: “Just because it sounds good and looks good doesn’t mean it’s something meant for you.” I believe it is important to be intentional about what you commit to, pray before you make decisions and never feel guilty for saying no. Because if you aren’t called to that certain spot at church that needs to be filled or to coach the little league soccer team, I guarantee someone else is. We all have our callings and being run ragged is not one of them.

In his book Rest – Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang sites examples of highly successful people who structured their day to allow downtime which included things like reading, horseback riding, quiet time in nature, exercise and more. They often times work only four hours a day during their peak performance hours, usually the morning.

One such person, John Lubbock was known during his time as, “one of the most accomplished of England’s amateur men of science, one of the most prolific and successful authors of his time, one of the most earnest social reformers, and one of the more successful law-makers in the recent history of Parliament.”

With all of his accomplishments, which included championing for shorter workdays for people under the age of eighteen and advocating for National Holidays, one would think he would be burning the candle at both ends. Instead, he structured his days in thirty minutes increments and always tried to include downtime, which for him was playing sports, when not in Parliament.

Scott Adams, the creator of the comic Dilbert said, “My value is based on my best ideas in any given day, not the number of hours I work.” I have to admit this quote gave me pause.

While this isn’t realistic for some of us who are stay-at-home-parents who never stop working with our youngsters or others who have 9-5 jobs, this notion is intriguing nonetheless. I have personally started to try doing my most important work during my peak time of the day, which can be different for everyone, and scheduling things that take less mental energy during the other time.

So, what about weekly rests? I can say it works for us! For the past few years, my family and I try to rest one day of the weekend. We recharge “our batteries,” spend time together and or in nature, read and more. We are not always able to do it but we definitely notice a difference in how we feel if our restful day is missed. And, as I remind our kids…if the good Lord rested on the seventh day then we better pay attention!

When a person is overworked or overcommitted they could face emotional exhaustion, poor decision making, low quality sleep, fatigue, and a lower performance level. Not to mention how it impacts overall health and well being.

Disconnecting from daily demands and resisting the urge to always be doing is important. As a mom of teenagers with family living out of town, there is no possible way I could turn my phone off (that would cause me even more stress!) but I can choose to not check emails or social media and refrain from even opening the mail when I need to rest. Little things can make a big difference.

My point is to be cognizant of how our time is used and to remember it is priceless. Giving ourselves permission to rest, unplug, have fun and sometimes, just breathe is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our loved ones.

Brooke DeLong, N.D.

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” ~Eleanor Brownn

About the Author

Brooke DeLong has a degree in Naturopathy and is passionate about educating and inspiring people. She is a wife and mom to four awesome kids.

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