Building rest into our lives
We’re drawing towards the end of the summer holidays here in England at the moment. Unlike my two girls, I don’t get the full six weeks off that they get, but I love the slower pace of life that accompanies this time of year. Even when I’m in the office, it’s not quite so hectic; it’s quieter with lots of people off on their holidays. There’s a certain peacefulness to the month of August that I’ve come to love more and more. Over the last couple of years, even our church has decided to fully shut down for the whole of August, encouraging everyone to take time to unwind, relax, enjoy time with friends and family, and, if they can, get away on holiday for a while. As the pace of life seems to get relentlessly faster, being intentional about the way we build rest into our lives becomes more important. Today’s links delve into some of the ways we can do this.
I hate sleep articles, but…
Getting to bed at the same time every night if possible might not seem like the act of a young hip go-getter, but it’s been found by studies in several areas to have some real benefits, from better sleep to higher cognitive performance.
As a parent who has kids who are still young enough to wake me up far too early and occasionally in the night, I tend to avoid articles about sleep like the plague. They’re clearly never written by anyone with kids! That said, I did find myself dipping into this piece on the benefits of going to bed at the same time each night. It’s one of those insights that, when you stop and think about it, makes perfect sense. Of course going to sleep at the same time, so your brain associates that time with going to sleep, is going to be beneficial. Naturally, life won’t always allow for this, but this is something I’m going to try over the next few weeks and see how I get on. Watch out world for a new me bursting onto the scene, rested and refreshed!
Building a sustainable lifestyle
It sounds selfish, but we can only give out to others from what we have. If we don’t look after ourselves, before long we won’t be able to look after others…Though periods without rest may be enforced in some seasons of life , life without rest is not sustainable.
Speaking of rest, I found myself recalling the above article I wrote over a year ago, in the middle of a very trying time when life was overwhelming. Those circumstances brought me to a place a new awareness about the need to look after myself. Not selfishly. But so that I had what I needed to be able to give out to those around me. Depending on your personality, the way you think about rest, sleep, and anything to do with slowing down, can differ vastly. My personality probably means I need a kick in the backside to stop resting now and then. But for others, whose identity is more wrapped up in doing, rest can be so hard. Whatever our personality though, we would all benefit from stepping back now and then, and reflecting on whether we’re taking the time to rest well.
Instagram: the restful social media app?
Instagram has never become a full participant in the web. By refusing to allow hyperlinks, it has maintained a distinct space on the internet. Twitter and Facebook expanded to become a messy, permeable front end for the whole of the web.
While I was away on holiday the last few weeks, I deleted Twitter from my phone and checked Facebook just once each week (which I do on a permanent basis now…oh the bliss). The social media app that remained though was Instagram. Why? I think it’s because, for me, there’s no stress involved. Checking Instagram is nearly always an enjoyable, uplifting experience. The same just can’t be said for Twitter and Facebook. And the take in this Atlantic piece is that part of the reason for Instagram feeling so different is that it’s never become a portal to the rest of the web. It’s hard — intentionally hard — to point people to outside web links. As a result, I’m not dragged from one thing to another. I simply stay in a steady stream of photos. Even the ads seem more palatable in this format. So, on the theme of rest, if we want to be on social media but want to avoid the angst, then maybe Instagram is the network to adopt. (Unless you’re the jealous type or have an inferiority complex…but that’s a whole other issue…)
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
— Anne Lamott