I hope you had a great Christmas. Maybe you can finally take a deep breath and relax. Let’s be honest, preparing for and celebrating Christmas can be pretty exhausting. The truth is no one wins when we work ourselves to the core, especially over the holidays. Sometimes the tiredness sneaks up on us and sometimes it settles in slowly with a fatigue or grumpy attitude we can’t shake. Now more than ever, it’s important that we don’t ignore our body’s signals for rest.
It’s true that the holidays are full of good things like traveling to visit with family we may not have seen all year, giving gifts for the people we love, helping out at church or an outreach center—the list goes on. While these can all be good things, they can turn into pressures and contribute to burnout if we aren’t careful.
To prevent burnout, make sure you’re taking time to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit. Here is one of my favorite verses about the importance of rest and how much God cares about it:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
We must remember that we were not meant to stress and strive, we were meant to thrive. So what can we do about it?
Practice deep relaxation techniques.
The cycle of stress can turn into bigger issues if it isn’t broken. Taking the time to relax with deep breathing or other stress relieving techniques can help slow down your heart rate and regulate your breathing—both of which can go on overdrive when we are stressed.
Whether you have 5 minutes or 50, it only takes a little pause to break the cycle of stress when you feel it coming on.
Read something that interests and relaxes you.
Reading requires us to slow down physically but it also helps keep our minds occupied from the stress we may be thinking about or ruminating over. Sometimes a little distraction like reading or taking a walk can help get our minds out of the stress loop and help us see a problem from a new perspective. And if the problem is that we are just overworking ourselves, then it works perfectly to force us to settle down for an hour or so.
Take a nap.
Isn’t it funny how the one thing you hated as a child is the one thing you dream about as an adult—taking a nap!
Go ahead, indulge yourself by closing the curtains, taking off your shoes, slipping into the sheets and giving yourself a much-needed snooze. A midday weekend nap may feel like it’s out of the question because of your mounting to-do list, but a 20-minute cat nap can do wonders for your energy levels and focus, helping you tackle the rest of your day with a clearer head.
Even if you’re not the napping type, taking 20 minutes out of your day to listen to some relaxing music can help you recharge for the rest of your weekend plans.
Rest Isn’t Optional
Taking care of yourself really isn’t optional. To maintain peak performance as a parent, spouse, friend, and all of the other roles you play, making that time for yourself is vital—and scriptural. It is important to remember that God never intended for us to run on empty, so for the coming new year, it is important that you take some time and try a few of the techniques listed above. It will improve your life.
Your Virtual Life Mentor,