I have always, always struggled with rest. I just don’t sit still. If I’m not careful I can pile so much on my plate that it topples over and I crash with an illness, or a migraine or other awful things. As I recovered from my back surgery in 2017 God certainly slowed me down and taught me the importance of not over doing it but sometimes, I still do. Folks we do do not have super powers as much as we think we might. Our bodies and our minds and our spirits require rest. Even God who doesn’t require rest, rested after creation. Jesus repeatedly went up into the mountains to pray and rest. Part of taking care of yourself and managing your anxiety and depression is allowing yourself ample rest.
However, those of us who suffer from anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, and ADHD are much more likely to experience sleep disorders according to Harvard Mental Health Letter March 18, 2019. The article even goes on to say that sleep disorders, like insomnia can contribute to the illness and are not just a symptom. Lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety according to The Calm Clinic’s post on October 10, 2020 by Micah Abraham BSc. Lack of sleep reduces the stress coping ability. The article states that lack of sleep brings on physical stress on your muscles and brain stress affecting cognitive thinking.
I myself have struggled with sleep and didn’t even realize that was it until I started researching for this blog. I am a very light sleeper and wake up multiple times at night. I am on a medication that helps me sleep so I often fall back asleep but before this medication I would be up for hours. My middle daughter struggles with sleep we have tried many different methods to help her but it’s hit or miss most nights. I am also tired throughout the day and if I over do it and not rest I will sleep in or take naps for several days before I get back to normal.
So in conjunction with talking with your therapist about your sleep patterns there are suggestions that SleepFoundation.org has for restful sleep. I would add things like yoga and essential oils have also helped me relax and get ready for bed. They suggest:
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule
- Use your bed for only sleep and sex
- Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing
- Limit exposure to bright light in the evening.
So we’ve talked about the importance of daily rest, but what about weekly rest? Do we still need to have a Sabbath day? And what would that look like? Mark E. Moore in his book Core 52 explains in chapter 28 that ” Creations greatest productivity is within a cycle that includes rest…Our minds, emotions and bodies need time to marinate, clear the clutter, dream and reorganize. Without rest our work is impeded because our creativity is stifled.”
Implementing a day of rest in our week can make us more productive and creative. We won’t feel such burn out and we will be able to enjoy our lives!
This is my new challenge. Something I need to be doing is implementing a day of rest in my week. It used to be Monday but I will admit it has not been every Monday, just the Mondays I felt tired. I took yesterday as a Sabbath day and it was needed. I rested, I did minimal cleaning and my quiet time. I did make dinner but It felt good to sleep in and rest. It allowed me to recharge and has made today a much easier day. I challenge you if you don’t have a Sabbath day in your week to have one. Try it for a month and see if it makes a difference in your mood, productivity and well being.