How often do you rest?

I’m not talking about just getting a good night’s rest, although the CDC does say insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. I’m talking about taking a rest during the frantic scramble through your everyday life. The type of rest we all need allows us to detach our brains from work to enjoy different rhythms of life. Without rest, I’m just pounding away on the treadmill of success while someone slowly cranks the tempo higher.

I don’t always rest well. Sometimes I push myself so hard for so long that I lay down to take a short nap on a Sunday afternoon and wake up two hours later. A really long nap is usually a sign to me that I’ve been pushing myself to the max.

How resting improves your work - writetojoncook Jon Cook

We need rest to make our work better. If you push yourself past the point of rest, your brain will begin forgetting or missing details, your body will begin to shut down, and you will slowly lose your effectiveness. Rest gives your brain a chance to breathe, to think, to declutter the debris of the stress, pressures, and demands of life. Rest is your spirit saying,”Timeout. Take a knee.”

Rest allows art to season. Rest reminds me that my business is actually God’s business and I get to be a steward, not try to be some demi-god. Rest lets my inspiration, passion, and inner drive take in the sights and sounds of God-given success. Rest lets me see where my dreams are and refocus before pursuing them again.

Examples of rest

Regular rest comes in a variety of ways:

  • Napping. Ronald Reagan took an afternoon nap every day that he was President of the United States. Other fantastically successful men, such as Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, and Napoleon Bonaparte regularly napped as well.
  • Unplugging from screens. Close the computer, take your thumbs off your tablets or smart phone, turn off the TV, and just enjoy life without a screen for a day. Set an email auto-responder if you need to that lets people know you will respond… tomorrow.
  • Turn off your phone. This goes hand-in-hand with getting off your screens, but not everyone has a smart phone. Have someone screen your calls for a day, only taking or returning calls if absolutely necessary.
  • Get away from the familiar. Take half a day and go down to the river or up to the mountains or wherever you can go that is a distance away from the familiar. Spend half a day in a small town, maybe get some ice cream or tour a library or old train depot. Go to an overlook and just sit for an hour. The point is to get away from the familiar to unlock your tightly wound brain.
  • Quit something on your schedule. Just quit it. Write an email of resignation, make a phone call, do whatever you need to do to quit a schedule-clogger. Several highly successful people make a habit of quitting one commitment once a week. It frees you up to be constantly starting something new and keeps obligation from forming.

A well-rested body and mind are positioned for greater success. You need rest to make your work more meaningful. What are some other ways you’ve found rest?