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Warning: it's time to rest

| by Ben Marshall

Stop. No, really. Stop. Slow down and breathe for a second. Take a few seconds to look around you. Stop reading, look up, what are the sights, sounds, smells surrounding you right now?

Was that hard?

It often is hard to stop and think in the middle of the day. The busy pace of tasks, to do lists, paperwork, and emails pile up. It seems like the list only gets longer and if you stop, you will just have to work even later because you’ll need more time to get everything done.

We have been sold a lie that productivity and rest are opposing forces. Healthy leaders know how to rest well. Resting well will lead to better productivity and higher quality output.

There is a difference between resting and resting well. Resting well is a time of refreshing, being filled up, and truly taking a break. It's not binging on Netflix and staying up late eating junk food because you have tomorrow off.

Healthy leaders are willing to make the sacrifice to rest well (because they are unwilling to pay the consequence of NOT resting well). That’s what this warning is all about. Healthy leaders need to know the power and necessity of rest. If you don't choose to rest, it is possible you will be forced to rest by burnout, exhaustion, or fired because of poor quality work.

Resting well isn’t easy, and at this point in work cultures, it is often looked down on, but if you are going to be healthy, you need to practice resting well. The #1 way to rest well is to put it on your calendar with a reminder. If you schedule it and have a reminder then you know if you did it or not, and if you skip it, then you have to reschedule it or take some sort of action step with the reminder. You can't get away from it.

Beyond scheduling it, here are three activities you can do to rest well today:

1. Take a power nap.

It is backed by science that naps are beneficial, but the length of the nap also matters. Naps of 20-30 minutes are ideal.

2. Turn off all technology and rest in silence.

Resting is important, but we don't really rest when we have a phone, or tablet, or TV or computer in front of us. Take the time to sit, read a book, relax outside, or something that is technology free. We need to disconnect, to find time to be quiet and still. It really will positively impact your life and productivity.

3. Commit to an activity that fills you.

This is something that will be different for everyone. For some, working out fills them up and increases energy. For others it might be basketball or soccer or football—join a recreational league. Others might be filled up reading, running, or biking. Whatever that thing for you is, commit to doing it enough during the week that you stay filled up emotionally, physically, spiritually.

I hope you can commit to a lifestyle of resting well when it's time to rest. It will make you more productive when it's time to work. Try it out today!

Photo source: istock 

Ben Marshall

Ben Marshall is a Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Holland, Michigan. He oversees youth and young adults as well as serving as a campus pastor in a multi-site church. He is actively engaged in the social media platforms and website communication at Calvary. He is a blogger, guitar player, and sports enthusiast. Ben currently resides in Holland with his wife Connie and their daughter.

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