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  • Writer's pictureAlex Rathbun

How to rest

How to rest well

Admittedly, I'm not always very good at resting. I do love laying on the couch in the evening, watching TV and eating popcorn, but I'm not the best when it comes to incorporating real, refreshing, soul-filling rest into my week.

In the Christian tradition, taking a weekly sabbath is important. This means taking a 24 hour period to rest. But something that's been debated for thousands of years is what rest actually means and how to do it well.

I'd like to think that I'm okay at setting aside some time each week to not check my email or work on photoshoot prep, which is true, but often I don't actually feel well-rested by the time Monday rolls around. I have come to realize that this is because I haven't been resting my mind: something new I heard in church last week was that for many people, real rest means halting ambition and future thinking. For me, this means when I'm setting aside intentional rest time, I'd like to stop worrying about what I'll do tomorrow, stop wondering how I can be more successful, stop planning my schedule every spare minute. (This may not be an aspect of rest that you struggle with, but it's accurate to my experience).

In brainstorming how I can better practice weekly rest that will rejuvenate me, I thought that I would share and hopefully spark some ideas for ways you can rest well!

The most important thing to note about rest is that it looks different depending on who you are and what kind of work you do. Usually if you work with your mind (on a computer, etc.), resting by doing something with your body is helpful. If you work with your body (physical labor), resting with your mind is helpful. Also, of course, if you're extremely extroverted, it probably won't feel restful to spend all day alone journaling, and that's okay! Similarly, going to the beach with friends probably isn't going to fill your tank if you're an introvert. Here are some ideas of what rest can look like, depending on what you enjoy:


do an intense workout

practice yoga

explore a new place

grab coffee with a friend

paint or draw


sit and listen to a podcast

listen to music - a whole album all the way through!


take a bath

take a long shower


order takeout

turn off your phone

take your dog to a dog park

hold a baby

pet a kitten

learn something new

snuggle with your loved one

go for a drive

stay inside all day

don't open your laptop

watch a documentary on something you've wanted to learn about

have a debate

don't talk to anyone

spend time with effortless friends

call a parent or an old friend

You know best when you do something that leaves you feeling better than you felt before you did it, so pay attention to what those things are for you! And see what happens when you take one day each week to just do those things.

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