It always seems that my to-do list is never finished. Between housework, my business, this blog, caring for a toddler, spending time with hubby, the garden and the many other things I come across that I’d like to do, like sewing, knitting, reading, etc, I fall into bed every night with a running list of what NEEDS to be accomplished the next day.
Except Saturday night.
Saturday evening I make it a point to tidy the house up. I clean the counters, sweep the floors, put the toys away neatly, finish all the laundry, then I make up some Overnight Oats (Click here for my favorite recipe!) to eat for breakfast the next morning and I go to bed with absolutely NOTHING ON MY MIND for the next day, except rest. Sometimes I even go ahead and pick out my clothes for church so that’s one less thing I have to worry about.
When I wake up Sunday morning, I get up to a tidy house, breakfast ready and absolutely nothing to do. I spend the morning relaxing, maybe sitting outside, maybe reading a chapter or two in my current book, maybe knitting. We get ready for church and take the dogs out for their morning walk then head to church. After church we come home, eat something easy for lunch like sandwiches and spend the rest of the day RELAXING.
So why, you ask?
Why take 1/7th of my week off?
Why on Sunday, when Daddy could actually take care of the kiddo and I could actually get something done, do I actually do nothing?
Well, the simplest answer is because it is the pattern God laid out – work 6, take off 1. But to go a little deeper, its pretty much a fact that all things need rest. (One of my favorite blogs, Becoming Minimalist, delves into a few examples here) Even farmers have to rotate fields and give them a break. Imagine that, fields need a break from growing things. It almost sounds silly when you think about it. I mean, that’s what they DO, right? But yes, they need a break. And so do we.
We aren’t machines, we can’t just push and push and push, oftentimes with not enough sleep and improper nutrition, and expect to be ok. We need a break. Our minds need a break, our bodies need a break, our emotions need a break.
A few months back I found myself in complete burnout. Every day I woke up exhausted, the thought of making ONE MORE meal or washing ONE MORE load of laundry was enough to make me snap. I started pushing things off, burying myself in things like Facebook so that I didn’t have to face the reality of all I had to do. It was terrible. And it was then that I realized that I never took breaks! I didn’t even get a break at night because I have a co-sleeping toddler. So that week, I spent ALL DAY Saturday cleaning the house and getting ready for Sunday. And then Sunday I sat on the couch most of the day and read a book. And it was heavenly!
And then I discovered something – I actually looked forward to Monday! All day Sunday, I would write “to-do” things down on my little notepad to work on Monday and then I would just FORGET ABOUT IT. Monday morning I woke up refreshed, rested and ready to tackle my list! And I usually breeze through it pretty quick! It also helps that I dedicate Monday to “to-do day” and I purposefully stay home on Mondays, scheduling all appts, errands and play dates the rest of the week. Its VERY rare that I actually leave the house on Monday. I keep this day clear for setting up our week correctly and my goal is to have my immediate to-do list DONE – not including those 12 books I want to read and those 37 sewing projects, of course 😉
So what do I actually do on Sunday? What constitutes rest? Well, anything that is actually restful. Anything that I can do where I can actually relax, and feel my body sink down in my chair. This generally includes reading a book, knitting, drawing, sitting outside or maybe watching a movie. Sometimes I will write a blog post, like I am right now, as long as its a relaxing post and not one that requires lots of research or lots of editing. Sometimes I will go out and garden, but only the relaxing activities, like watering or pulling the occasional weed or training the beans up on their supports. Being in the garden is VERY relaxing for me. I also aim to take a relaxing, warm Epsom salt bath at the end of the day, with a good book of course!
Things that I DON’T do include hard work in the garden (such as digging new holes), working on the technical part of the website (the part that generally makes me want to cry!), starting any NEW knitting projects (I’m still a beginner knitter and new projects are very stressful) or almost any sewing project (Again, for me, cutting out patterns and piecing things together, especially with a toddler, is very stressful.)
I also make it a point not to cook. I already mentioned the Overnight Oats for breakfast (its easier than even a bowl of cereal and MUCH healthier and MUCH more filling), then we’ll do sandwiches or maybe leftovers for lunch, and dinner is either leftovers, eating out (we don’t do this very often), something simple like burgers on the grill with chips, or I’ll toss something easy in the slow cooker, like today we are having Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with rice and refried beans. The effort to make those tacos is less than the effort it takes to drive to a restaurant, so I call that a Sunday win!
I think in today’s fast paced world, we get so caught up in doing and going and becoming that sometimes we forget to just be still. Listen to the birds chirp in the morning, feel the breeze in the afternoon, take in the sights and sounds of our home and family and soak up the peace of existing in this wonderful world.
I hope you, too, will consider taking a day, or even just an afternoon off to let yourself rest. It doesn’t have to be Sunday, it can be any day that works for you, the important part is that you make a conscious effort to REST.