When is the last time you really took a break? Be honest. Was it the last time you took a vacation? Was it as soon as this past three-day weekend? And if those things were your last “break” days, did you really take time to rest? Or were you still scurrying around cooking meals, scrolling through social media, or worrying about your plans for the day? I think we’re all guilty of it—we don’t know how to rest. Which is why I treasure my rest days, and I wanted to share what they look like with you.
I have officially designated Sunday a full rest day. And when I say “rest” I don’t just mean napping. But that doesn’t exclude napping—I did fall into a two-hour nap on Sunday and woke up feeling absolutely immaculate.
I’m talking a true rest from your crazy, busy life. A day where you can simply enjoy yourself instead of letting the worries of the world weigh you down. A day where you can actually take a break from the never-ending news cycle, pause from your “hustle”, and slow down for a moment. Take a long walk. Sip on a cup of coffee and read a book. Nap. Pray.
If you’re a believer in God, you know the age-old story in Genesis. God didn’t need a day of rest, but he took one. He made the Sabbath one of his commandments. Time and time again, God tells the people of Israel to rest, and His heart behind taking a day of rest and enjoying being in His presence is one He still calls us to. Even Jesus took times of rest. He found secluded spots for prayer and reflection. If God took breaks, why don’t we?
There’s something profound about allowing your body to really rest. In my rest I’ve learned so much about my life. I’ve learned that I needed to quit interacting with social media for good. I found clarity in my career. Even my body responds well to it—there’s no more acne on my face or crazy rashes on my arms. The stress is gone. And when Monday finally rolls around, I actually feel ready for the work day ahead.
So here’s what a rest day looks like for me. It’s not all bubble baths and face masks. Instead, my rest days are focused on the things that truly give me rest and rejuvenation.
No Internet or TV Shows
This is the #1 most important rule of my rest day. Time spent on the Internet or watching television shows has never been a relaxing pass time for me. They are both activities you can easily get sucked into, but don’t provide you with any type of “end point.” I never walk away from either of these feeling relaxed, and because it is my day to feel fully relaxed, I ignore it altogether.
The only time I do use is Internet is if I’m looking something up, listening to music, or trying a new recipe.
Lots of reading
I absolutely love, love, love to read. I always have. My activity of choice on a rest day is to read a book. And quite honestly, most of my rest days include me reading a whole book in it’s entirety. This past weekend I finished reading American Royals II by Katherine McGee (genius young adult novel, a fun read). I’ll curl up on the couch and just settle in for a long day of reading. It’s the absolute best.
No cleaning, chores, or errands
These things are not relaxing—clearly! Although most people like to spend their Sundays prepping for the week ahead, I like to skip it altogether. I used to be that kind of person—prepping meals on Sunday, going to the store, cleaning up the apartment for the week—but that never left me with time to truly rest. So I save those activities for Saturday, and if need be, on Monday night after work.
The only cleaning I allow is doing the dishes, given that I don’t have a dishwasher and I don’t want dirty dishes to sit in the sink all day and night.
Time with friends
Not every rest day includes time with friends, but sometimes if I’m in the mood for it, I’ll include a brunch date or dinner with some friends. This pas Sunday I spent a few hours with two of my girlfriends getting brunch, then ice cream, and sitting on a bench chatting away for hours. It was nice to spend some time together (we’ve been cooped up for so long!), and by the end of our day date, I felt rejuvenated.
Writing—or other hobbies.
I write all the time for work. And for this blog. But guess what—I also write for fun. I’m crazy, right? Hey, if you love something, you just keep doing it. I take time to write freely in my journal, and also take some time to work on a separate writing project of my own. I haven’t told anyone about it yet—sorry. It’s a personal project, but I promise if something comes of it, you’ll all be the first to know!
Needless to say, take time to do your favorite hobbies. Writing is my job, and it is my hobby. I love to do it. Other hobbies I enjoy include photography, knitting, and I admit, a little bit of time playing my Gameboy.
Going for long walks or casual bike rides, no crazy excursive. Besides hiking.
Basically, I don’t pick up my weights or do any HIIT workouts. I like to go for walks and ride my bike, or if I can, go for long hikes. But I give myself a break from my usual routine of doing a 30-minute intense workout in the beginning of my day. If I’m spending the day resting, I want to actually give my physical body time to rest as well.
Speaking of physical rest, napping is totally included. Sometimes it’s a simple 30 minutes, sometimes it’s a 2-hour zonktime. This weekend I feel face-down on my couch and napped for over 2 hours after hanging with my girlfriends, and it was absolutely glorious. Giving my body actual time for extra rest makes me feel really good for the rest of the week. I don’t feel overtired or sleepy during my workday. I actually feel well rested! Who knew that was even allowed?!
I mean, duh? Of course I’m cooking on my rest day. I like to try out new recipes and eat good food. Sometimes this includes snapping a few photos for the blog, but honestly, it’s a rare occasion. Sundays are the days I like to experiment in the kitchen and try new things. And when I’m not feeling it? I’m ordering takeout.
On the rare occasion, I’ll spend my rest day going on some kind of adventure. Hiking has been one I’ve enjoyed lately, but I also enjoy other activities like visiting a winery or brewery, taking a trip to the beach, or even going blueberry picking.
End with a movie, if desired.
This is something I’m recently discovering about myself. I think the reason I have such a hard time with watching TV shows is because I’m all about the storyline. I love to see a storyline from beginning, middle, and end—and I hate having to wait months to do so. But if you watch a movie, you get the whole storyline in an average of 2 hours. It’s the perfect way to end a day! So some rest days, I’ll pop some popcorn and watch a movie, which will make me feel good afterwards instead of feeling dissatisfied. Plus, I won’t stay up late binging on a series. It’s a win-win.
Time with God
This is another really important part of my rest day. Sundays include (virtual) church, and time with God. This means I spend time reading my Bible, praying, listening to worship music, or sometimes just sitting there sipping on a cup of coffee or tea. Allowing myself to slow down gives me time to really think about my faith and my week, instead of filling my mind with useless things. Time with God makes me feel even stronger for the week ahead, and helps me to understand the world from a much more loving perspective.
And that’s how I spend a rest day. How will you spend your rest day? Share in the comments below!