My Never-Ending Challenge of Rest

During this pandemic I have heard two things. The first was that there was a lot of boredom, a lot of TV platforms to choose from and the discovery of ordering groceries on-line. The second thing I heard was others was that work became busier than ever. These differing stories weren’t from nurses who were or weren’t working (yes, that really happened depending on where we worked). These drastic differences were reported based on whether someone could work from home or if the workplace shut down due to CoVid-19 safety measures.

I began to wonder if those who worked from home ever really got away from work. I know in my experience with running my own business I have to set boundaries (which I am terrible at) to leave my office and engage in my home life. It’s easy to just run back downstairs and do a “quick” thing only to get sucked in and forget time.

So here is my challenge with rest. Growing up I was taught and practiced the Sabbath, a Judeo-Christian tradition. The Sabbath started in the beginning of Creation, as written in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. It is a day of rest, a day modeled after God’s day of resting after 6 days of creating the world. The instruction for a day of rest continued throughout the Old Testament, the first half of the Bible.

So, this was my understanding of rest. When I was little stores were closed on Sunday. I didn’t work a traditional job on Sunday through college for “religious choice” because it is the day of rest. By college I viewed Sunday as my day to do church stuff, catch-up on life, hangout with friends and to study for Monday’s test. I never really learned to rest as a young adult.

Post college during my in-patient hospital career I grew accustomed to working on Sundays. Hospital work never stops. I didn’t work every Sunday, but I worked enough to get used to it. When I started my business as a family photographer, sessions are easier to schedule on the weekends. Sure, I would save time for church, but often rushed out right after for a session. I “needed” to work on Sundays, which became normal, I never took a day to rest.

I had decided before the 2020 quarantine hit I would focus on taking a day of rest. I started asking myself questions. How do I get more done during 6 days so I can rest without loosing out? Should I turn down work in order to rest? And a more difficult question…what do I do to rest?

At the same time as quarantine hit I returned to inpatient nursing so occasionally work on Sundays. I decided to make Thursdays my day of rest. This lasted two weeks because my girls were still in school and I am not good at saying “no” to certain things. I then tried to determine what brings joy and fulfillment and do only those things on a single day to make it more like resting. I was trying because I knew my mind, and maybe my body, needed a down day. Guess what? Fun things still take work, planning and determination. I wasn’t succeeding.

With my new nursing job I had planned to work less at the hospital so my business could flourish. With quarantine my business, family photography, had to take a break as well. I found myself hanging out at home, doing on-line school with my girls and sitting on my porch swing trying to regulate my mind to this new reality. The 2020 quarantine only accentuated my discomfort in the idea of rest.

Prior to the pandemic if you had asked me what I do to regain or sustain resilience I would tell you I go to coffee with friends, go for a run, invest in lots of people, photograph some babies and travel whenever possible. During the pandemic I had to find new things like reading more, learning more about the world around me and investing in new areas of growth. I love church, but church was at home in my jammies. I spent time being quiet. I slept more and ignored things that I needed to do.

Now, a day of rest isn’t a tradition to check off my list. It’s just plain wise and a part of my resiliency. It’s an opportunity for my body, which carries my stress in my shoulders, an opportunity to recover. Rest allow our hormones to become more level. It also allows us to return to a better state of normal. Our stress cycles, when next activated, won’t put us over the edge as easily. It also allows us to enjoy the fruit of our labor. (More on this soon.)

I may have found new ways to rest, but I’m still not great it. I am trying though. There is too much to say about rest and slowing the hustle of life for today. The thing I do know about myself is that rest has to be scheduled. I will never just decide to stop working or to go to bed early unless I fall asleep reading to my girls. I have to make the decision to allow myself to rest and carve out the entire day for it.

As I blog through this year I’ll talk more about rest. Remembering to be mindful of rest is going to be key in this journey. Maybe you are working more now that you have a home office or maybe you want to stop resting and get back to work. Wherever you are in the mix, start processing if you rest, how you rest and notice when you need to rest. Just like the habits we talked about the past two weeks, we need to look for the rest cues in our lives.

If you want more right now, I found this great blog:

Hope you have a restful weekend.


Published by Stephanie Trowbridge

Follower of Jesus. Artist. Wife. Mother.

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