Do you ever get to the end of the week and feel like you never really stopped to have a break? Perhaps you look around your house, which seems to be in a constant state of chaos, and wonder why it doesn’t reflect your non-stop efforts? You certainly feel like you’re working all day, so what have you got to show for it?
Well, there are many reasons this may resonate with you, but one possibility is that you have made a habit of unproductive rest. When I talk about unproductive rest I don’t mean rest should produce something tangible. Productive rest is rest that produces peace and energizes the soul.
Unproductive rest is doing things that just waste time – you are achieving nothing, and you don’t come away feeling any more refreshed. This time is characterised by a sense of being rushed, preoccupied thoughts and feeling guilty because you are “stealing time” from something else.
My biggest unproductive time-waster is refreshing Facebook 50 times to see if anything interesting will happen or watching movie trailers on Youtube for …a long time.
The result of having an unproductive rest habit is that we never feel refreshed, so we constantly seek out snatched moments of relaxation whenever we can. This leads us to neglect our actual responsibilities, which leads to chaos in our homes. And when our homes are in chaos, we don’t feel justified scheduling genuine rest time in. Which leads right back to the start of the cycle.
Mums, we need to get off the merry-go-round of time-wasting, chaos and procrastination, and embrace the good kind of rest!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
• Schedule rest time. Mark it on your calendar like an appointment and then stick to it.
• Earn your rest time. When you’re not resting, work hard at the task at hand and be undivided in your concentration (okay, you’re a Mum – be less divided). Put down the phone, get the kids to help you (they will need your patience and training in this) and do one thing at a time.
• Teach your kids to have rest times during the day. Many Mums continue giving their toddlers rest time in their rooms each afternoon after they grow out of naps so that Mum still gets some rest time. You could also work on having quiet times together, colouring pictures or all reading your own books silently. You will probably need to start small (5 minutes or so) and work up, as their concentration levels grow.
• Embrace the natural times of doing nothing. Sit on the grass with your kids and have a look for interesting leaves or bugs. Lie down and look at the clouds moving. Linger in the cuddle as long as your squirmy worm lets you.
• Find something that energizes you. This might be a creative hobby, like sewing, painting or crochet. It could be as simple as sitting outside under a tree with a cup of tea or coffee for 15 minutes. You might like to read a book (you know, one for grown-ups).