Taking a Break From the StudioMar 11, 2022
The Value of Rest, Part 1
"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." - Genesis 2:2-3
Sometimes, in our goal-driven societies, resting gets a bad rap. I think that in part this is because people equate resting with being non-productive and lazy. Neither of those things are true. Resting is its own kind of productivity. Rest is a verb. It is an action. It is active, not passive.
Experts know there is a difference between sleep and rest. Although both are important, sleep is, "a body-mind state in which we experience sensory detachment from our surroundings." Rest, though, has a broader definition because rest is "a behavior aimed at increasing physical and mental well-being" (https://www.sleep.org/how-sleep-works/resting-vs-sleeping.). This can look different one person to another. While sleep is one way to rest, it is certainly not the only way.
The benefits of rest include everything from reduced stress and a better mood to lower blood pressure, lower levels of chronic pain, and better cardiovascular and immune system health. It can also make you a better problem solver, can make you better attuned to yourself and can help you capitalize on moments of inspiration. Rest in the form of sleep can actually even help the body lose weight. It truly is amazing the number of benefits we receive simply by resting.
So, if rest is so valuable and our lives are so hectic, how can we add relaxation into our routines? Well, for one thing, we create holidays!
Right now in Canada, students are on Spring Break. Whether you are a working parent who suddenly needs to find childcare and activities to occupy your children or are a parent able to take Spring Break off alongside your little ones, breaks like these can be both fantastic and also exhausting. When children are home all day, it can be anything but peaceful for parents!
Here are some suggestions for making Spring Break an enjoyable, restful time.
When normal routines are interrupted, it is more important than ever to embrace self-care. Try to find even fifteen minutes a day for a quick session of meditation or for physical activities such as yoga stretches or cardiovascular workouts. You may enjoy including your children in these activities, but then again, you may want to keep this time to yourself. Either option is fully valid.
2. Family Chore Distribution
Streamline your normal routines while the children are on break by assigning age-appropriate family chores to the children. This has the benefit of taking a chore off your own list. It also teaches children responsibility and teaches them the value of contributing to the needs of a family unit. Chores are a perfect form of training children for the eventuality of adulthood. And, of course, they also give your little ones an activity to do while on break.
3. Sleep Changes
If you normally are up at a certain time of day to prep the children for their day, take advantage of the extra moments freed up by a new morning routine by either getting extra sleep or some precious alone time. Savor a coffee or tea alone in silence before the family descends. Read a chapter from a book. Take an hour for your creative practice. There are a lot of ways a small change in schedule can benefit you. Even when lack of routine adds new responsibilities to your life, there are small, doable means of being restful in the way you approach your day.
4. Fun and Games
Above all, make sure to free up some time for entertainment with the family. Children don't stay little for long. Enjoy every moment together that you possibly can. Go for a hike. Or a swim. Play a board game. Head to the library and borrow a book. Plan some age-appropriate art activities. Teach your child your favorite sport and practice together. Enjoy a manicure together. Let your child style your hair. Watch a movie. Maybe, if you are very brave, record a TicToc dance together.
Maybe this Spring Break you will choose to go away on an actual, physical holiday. Every mom knows that as fun as that is, it is also exhausting. There is packing. There is traveling. There is childcare out of your normal environment. There are also memories made, and family bonds forged, and even as physically exhausting as family holidays can sometimes be, it is also true that a change of scenery and routine provides a kind of mental rest. When things are different and new, that is refreshing to the human brain.
Whether you are going to jet away to some fun-filled destination or stay home with your littles in the home, it's good to remember, as artists, that God didn't bless day seven because he was done creating, he blessed it because he took a break. Changing up a routine -- even in small ways -- can give your mind a reset.
At the end of the day, activities you participate in can be tiring and still refreshing at the same time. So, remember to take breaks now and then. You'll come back to your easels with more to offer. Rest, you will find, is not wasted time.
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