Sunday naps were a childhood tradition,and my parents forced me to lie in my bed after lunch for at least an hour. The consistent routine of resting my body and shutting off my brain was torture as a child. Little did I know learning to rest would bring balance to my life. Today, I look forward to my guilt free lazy Sunday afternoons. I make sure I get a nap and my whole family benefits when I do. I’ve learned to art of just being. After all, we are human beings not human doings.
According to Relevant magazine, humans are biologically designed to routinely do nothing. We must stop working to let nature teach us how to be creative. If fact, habitually doing nothing trains us how to learn (www.relevantmagazine.com/life/why-we-need-start-taking-sabbath-seriously).
It is hard for us to take a weekly day off, and many American workers don’t take their earned vacation days. CNN reported American workers skip vacation days or work while on vacation, because they do the job of several people, don’t want to be seen as slackers, fear returning to work pile ups, suffer from digital dependance, and deal with performance identity (www.cnn.com/2014/10/22/travel/u-s-workers-vacation-time/index.html).
It’s not just the paid workers of America who have adopted this unhealthy over-busy lifestyle. Stay at home mothers live by these unspoken rules too. Barbara Brown Taylor, New York Times best-selling author, and professor, “Some of us have made an idol of exhaustion. The only time we know we have done enough is when we’re running on empty and when the ones we love most are the ones we see the least.” So if your work environment is also your home, the work never gets completely knocked out. Facebook posts list how much people have accomplished in a day, because it’s what makes them feel important. None of them are posting about their afternoon nap unless they are fighting the flu. Sometimes there is a post about reading in a hammock at the beach, but that’s if they actually took a summer vacation or made time for margin in their life.
Brad Lomenick, innovator and leader of the Catalyst Movement in America wrote, “Margin is a powerful concept. It creates opportunities. For businesses, margin is one of your top priorities. Margin is business creates profits. Margin in family creates memories. Margin in our personal finances creates generosity. Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact. Margin in our lives overall creates options. Options to pursue dreams, think, pray, relax, meditate, process, grow and ultimately live life more fully.” When I am taking a weekly day to rest, it’s my margin. I’m designed to watch the birds, snuggle with my daughter, and cook a creative meal for my family.
In her book, Breathe, Priscilla Shirer said, ” We have to know when we’ve worked enough, tried enough, gathered enough, purchased enough, said enough, stored enough, kept enough, created enough, produced enough, generated enough, consumed enough, labored enough, expended enough, spent enough. Somebody has got to say ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.'”
So, I’m thankful my parents taught me it is okay to stop and rest, create margin, and say “enough.” Routine resting is part of the equation to a balanced lifestyle.