Written by contributing writer, Daniele Evans at Domestic Serenity.
So we’ve talked about just why rest is important and what true rest includes. A time for reflection and for leisure, this daily rhythm of separating morning work from evening work by a 15 to 30 minute pause is quite beneficial to our days.
I didn’t always practice this. Like several commenters in the first post, I felt slightly guilty. But, I was approaching it all the wrong way. Instead of thinking ‘I deserve this’, my mentality shifted to ‘God created rest for me and wants me to enjoy it’. The truth of that statement led me to further study God’s example and commands to pause and rest in regular intervals.
The result was a fresh appreciation for God’s design and a new desire to honor His ways instead of my own. A daily pause is one way to stop the work, reflect upon God’s goodness and refuel a little.
Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful:
PREP & PLAN AHEAD
Remember the first step is to believe this pause is a priority!
Assign a time to your rest :: this doesn’t need to be exact, unless it’s helpful to you, but even to the hour such as ‘sometime between 3-4 p.m.’
Decide if anything needs to be adjusted :: what will the children be doing? are there other chores usually done now that should be moved to morning or evening? Figure out potential hindrances and work at adjusting the routine in order to pause.
A note about children: I’ve found following the lead of the youngest child’s needs helpful. Whether you follow a consistent schedule or a more open routine, babies and toddlers usually have some pattern of napping in the afternoons. Arrange for other children to enjoy quiet time or a nap themselves while you pause for 15-30 minutes.
Note from Lindsay: With three little ones you may agree that it can be challenging to get them all to nap together. But I can testify that with a little work, it is possible. My two older ones nap/rest between 1-3pm each day (anywhere from 1.5-2 hrs). To get my infant to rest during the same period, I shorten her morning nap and waken her by 11:30am (which adjusts as she grows), so that she has a sufficient awake period before she gets tired again when the older two go to sleep. During the transition period from two to one nap, I try to stretch the baby and endure a little extra fussiness to be able to put them down again together. It’s worth it. Sometimes this might include putting the older ones down 30 minutes earlier. Every day is a bit different, sometimes this rest period is shorter or longer, but overall it is worth the effort when your house is full of little ones. My mom always encouraged me to keep a good nap routine as long as possible (I remember my siblings napping till they were 6 years old!).
Designate a space :: find a spot in your home (or outdoors!) that feels restful; I like going to the same place each day — the couch or kitchen table. Resist the temptation to clean while you’re there! Also gather all you’ll need to enjoy: a pen, journal or other paper, book you’re reading, knitting or other handwork, etc. Place these in a basket or container and have them ready so time is not wasted searching.
Remove distractions :: say no to the phone, voicemail, email, social media, etc.
ENJOY THE MOMENTS
Decide on a treat :: a cup of tea or coffee, a sweet…something that feels like a treat to you! Or maybe resting in itself is the treat?
Light a candle or play relaxing music :: okay, this is not a necessity but simply a way to separate these moments from the rest of the day. I’ve also found it helpful for my children to know when Mommy’s time is up — when the candle is blown out! No music handy? Try David Nevue’s station on Pandora.
Reflect on the morning :: for a few minutes, celebrate 2-3 things that went well; I’d encourage writing these down in a journal or notebook.
Rest! Either physically by taking a power nap or by enjoying a leisure activity. You might want to set a timer, most of us can’t take the whole afternoon!
Need some resources for keeping your kids busy during a quiet rest time?
- Check out these quiet time bins (with great ideas for keeping your kiddos playing quietly in their own space after they have transitioned out of taking naps)
- More ideas for quiet time bins
- Invest in a CD player with headphones and allow them to listen to books on tape (many great classic books can be borrowed from your local library for your children’s enjoyment)
So, what you do think — possible? Feel free to add other ideas or thoughts.
I bless you with restful, rejuvenating daily pauses!