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10 ways to add rest into your busy week.



I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.







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I spent almost all of my twenties never bothering to rest.

I never took days off. I didn’t know how to pump the brakes. I found so much of my identity in what I was doing that when I took time away I felt like I wasn’t myself or that I was missing out on precious hours where progress could be made. But the truth was I was just exhausted. I felt like everything relied upon me. I was being a martyr for no apparent reason because I wasn’t serving the world anything but a tired, worn-out version of myself.

Back then, I would have told you that people who rest are crazy. They’re lazy. They are wasting time. They are getting behind. What I didn’t see back then was that my choice to empty myself for the sake of “good work” wasn’t heroic, it was a recipe for a deadly crash.

While I don’t think the severe depression I experienced in 2014 was spurred on by failure to rest, I know that was part of it. It was an “all systems are down” sort of moment for my brain. The “do more, be more, work more, create more” mentality was broken at long last. When I found myself unable to use my brain, I could no longer hide behind my work. I could not continue to use it as an identity and I would have to make the long trip towards a new kind of normal, not knowing when the arrival at that new place would be.

The myth would be: the busier you are, the less time you have to rest. 

There’s just no space, you say.

There’s just no time, you say.

There’s just no good way to take a break right now, you say.

But as the excuses pile up, your energy levels start to go down.

It wasn’t up until recently that I realized taking intentional time to rest would rejuvenate me enough that I could power through my days with productivity and more ease.

It’s important to note: rest isn’t something you stumble upon. And it also isn’t something you need to be legalistic about. It doesn’t matter what day of the week you choose. It doesn’t how rest looks.

I’ve learned 3 things about rest over the years:

  1. Rest is something we have to enter into— it is not accidental, it requires action.

  2. Rest is a gift, a pure gift— there is no need to try to “perfect” it to please God. He is already pleased and nothing you do or don’t do can change that reality.

  3. Rest is a way of loosening the grip of control. It’s an invitation into an identity that is free and faith-filled.

I want to take this word “rest” and I want to unhinge it from all the definitions we’ve given it in the past. Rest doesn’t have to look like _________________. Rest is whatever you pursue that fires you up, helps you recharge, and gives you life. 

The suggestions below are merely that: suggestions. There is no right or wrong way to rest. However, I do think we should pay attention to how the activity makes us feel. Does it drain us or fill us? Does it give us more stamina or does it wear us down and make us more tired? 

Over the last few years, I’ve learned that rest is something I need to fight for… something that I need to plan for. If you look at the map I create when planning out my week, you will always see some form of rest planned ahead of time. I know by now that if I don’t plan for it, it won’t happen.

Rest isn’t reserved for holiday breaks. Rest isn’t just for when you can put up the autoresponder. Rest isn’t something you can only do if you have a ticket to a tropical island or enough money for a spa day. These are simple rhythms you can incorporate into your weekly schedule to power up and power through the beautiful and hard stuff ahead.

001. Take a latte break.

Taking a few minutes out of your day to get a treat is a surefire way to put some pep back in your step. On days where I am lagging, I treat myself to an espresso + honey iced coffee from one of my favorite coffee shops. The simple act of getting in my car, driving there, and picking it up to take back to my desk rejuvenates me. 

If you’re home with a babe or can’t break away from the desk for a drive, have a favorite drink ready to go in your fridge. Whether it’s a sparkling water or some cold brew + oat milk you can mix together yourself, treat yourself to a little break in the day where you fuel up and enjoy yourself.

My favorite coffee drink to make at home is right here.

002. Get out in nature.

I never used to see the importance of getting away to get into nature but even just spend 10 minutes outside and you’ll feel more at home (and at peace) with yourself. Nature moves to a different rhythm and clock than we do— sometimes it is nice to go off of nature’s schedule.

Getting out in nature doesn’t mean you have to go for a hike (though that is nice to schedule every once in a while). Yesterday, Novi and I spent some time playing outside on the back deck. She moved all over the yard while I read a chapter in a book I’ve been reading lately. Getting outside to get some vitamin D was just the thing we needed to feel energized for the rest of the day.

003. Read a book.

I completely think making space to read a book is restful. Now here’s what I am not telling you to do: I am not telling you to pick up a book that is going to help you “improve” or “better” your life. That’s not exactly restful, that’s work.

Pick a book that has a story to it- maybe something fictional. Allow yourself to get swept up in the plot and characters. Relax, step back, and enjoy a moment of not “fixing” yourself.

Pst… do you want to get into the habit of reading? Read this.

004. Make a meal.

Nothing is more refreshing and relaxing to me at the end of a long day than making a meal in my kitchen. Okay, I know what you are thinking… “Hannah, that’s not restful. That’s the last thing I want to do when I finish a workday.” I get it. And it wasn’t exactly restful for me either at first. Over time, as I’ve appreciated working with my hands more, I’ve come to love being in the kitchen and making a meal for my family.

I pour myself a nice glass of red. I put on a favorite podcast to listen to. I open up a cookbook. This is a biggie! I think a big part of why I view cooking to be restful is because I am not following a recipe on my phone. I am unplugged and moving through a recipe in a cookbook. I can’t recommend getting into this practice enough. If you have a recipe you want to try out that you found online, print it out so you don’t have to be on your phone the whole time!

There’s something slow and beautiful about creating a delicious, hearty meal. You are worth the process of chopping veggies and mixing spices. You are worth the following of a recipe. You are worth something that takes more time than 5 minutes to create and doesn’t require a microwave (at least not all the steps). Slow down long enough to recharge with a new dish you’ve been wanting to try.

A few of my favorite go-to cookbooks are:

005. Make a date with yourself.

Pick a spot on your calendar and block it off. Whether it’s early morning or during lunch- keep that date with yourself.

Venture to a coffee shop where they serve you a real mug.

Don’t pull out the computer or start hammering away at the next to-do list.

Just be. Just listen. Just people-watch.

Maybe pull out a journal and just let your thoughts float. Feel the freedom of being right where you are supposed to be even if the rest of your week looks crazy busy.

006. Observe the Sabbath.

I am a big, big fan of observing Sabbath. When people ask how I manage to get so much done, I can confidently respond that it’s because I take one day a week off completely to recharge my batteries.

Sabbath typically starts on Friday evening and goes until Saturday evening. It’s a 24-hour period to rest, unplug, be off social media, and not engage in work.

You don’t have to do the Sabbath on a weekend… you don’t have to do it on Saturday. Sabbath is what you make it. Whatever the day, embrace the chance to just enjoy people, a nice nap, a slow morning, and some much-needed downtime. 

If you want to learn more about taking an intentional Sabbath, you should check out this book.

007. Shut off your phone.

Can we normalize unplugging? Once upon a time, we used to leave the house without being hooked up to our devices. There used to be answering machines! Nowadays, the only person I know who still uses an answering machine is my mother. When did we get so obsessed with needing to plug in at all times?

If you never take a break from your phone then it is no wonder why you’re exhausted. It might be time to shut down. Just for an hour. Or just for 30 minutes. You’ll be surprised how restful it feels.

It’s okay to put the phone away. It’s okay to take a break. Chances are, your soul and brain need it desperately. 

008. Use your brain.

On the topic of your brain, I’ve found that you can actually rest your brain by using it. One of my favorite ways to rest is by doing Soduku puzzles. When Lane and I go camping or on a trip, I love pulling out the Soduku puzzles because solving problems and riddles fire me up. The joy is that I am not “winning” anything, I am recharging my mind by putting it to use. Try crossword puzzles or a 500-piece puzzle. All of these are great ways to use your noggin. 

009. Do something you don’t usually make time for doing.

I know that a good prescription for rest is not typically finding something to do but stay with me… we all of things we’ve love to do for fun.

  • I’m learning French on DuoLingo.

  • I love making vision boards and collaging in my journals.

  • I have a baby book I really want to update.

  • One of my favorite things is printing out photos to decorate the house with.

These are not activities that typically fit into my daily life. They happen when they happen… But I would definitely appreciate the time to make some of these things happen more often. That, to me, would be restful. Sometimes I will set a timer for 15 minutes and start updating Novi’s baby book. I get engrossed with it. I enjoy crafting. I have fun and I feel so refreshed when the 15 minutes is over.

It doesn’t have to be a long time and it certainly doesn’t have to be every single day but what would it look like to pick up a fun and refreshing habit? My friend Dawn knits when she needs some downtime. My husband loves building this— this is something that fuels him, it does not drain him.

Having a hobby to turn to every once in a while might not be that bad… it actually might make you feel like more of yourself.

010. Spend time with God.

When I don’t have space in my schedule to fit some kind of rest into my day, I know there are always times to pause and meet with God. Somehow, from this simple act, I find my day stretching out and my energy levels surging. Choosing to rest in God is a daily practice for me. Even on days where I don’t “feel like it,” I still make the space. I always walk away being grateful I said “yes” to a chance to rest before moving forward into the chaos of the day.

I always want to hear from you:

Which number on the list do you want to commit to in the week ahead?


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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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