It seems like prioritizing rest has become so important in my life recently. This summer I’ve been wrestling burn out almost weekly as I stare at the mountain of a to-do list that I have in front of me. Amidst all the traveling, work, and summer festivities, I’ve been able to recognize early signs of burnout as general exhaustion, lack of ambition, and the feeling that my work will never be good enough (and that it doesn’t matter at all).
As soon as I start to feel any of these things, I’ve started resisting the knee-jerk response to lean in, put my head down, and work harder. Instead, I’ve done quite the opposite. I’ve started taking a step back, taking more breaks, and putting way less on my list for the day than I think I need to (I’m talking less than 1/3 here).
And I always accompany this stepping back with a little reminder to myself: Hey Meg, you’re doing great. Remember that you’re a human and you get tired. I’m so proud of you for taking time to rest so that you can enjoy your life and show up as your best for the most important things.
This method has proven to be the only way that I can feel like I’m really all in for my summer and in a heart space where I can appreciate every moment of the fleeting season. So without further ado, here are my 5 favorite ways to prioritize rest in a busy summer:
Naps. Preferably on a sunny afternoon. There is something so freeing about turning it all off for however long you need to and just actually resting.
Grilling and hanging out with my husband on our deck. Our house has a beautiful wrap around deck that we’ve furnished with hand-me-downs and a charcoal grill. It’s really one of the most relaxing places for me to be on a Sunday afternoon. An afternoon nap and a slow evening on the deck can truly do wonders for the Sunday Blues that seems to show it’s face a little more after perfect summer weekends.
Saying “no” and not over-committing. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that this is the tip I struggle with the most. I don’t know that it really belongs on the list of my favorite ways to prioritize rest. It would be more fitting on a list called, the thing you need to be able to do if you have any chance at prioritizing rest. And for this gal, it’s a doozy. Especially having family 4.5 hours away, I need to be so careful that I don’t say yes to all the things. When we are on the road for 9 hours a weekend, there’s significantly less time for grilling and napping on lazy Sundays.
Walks outside. This is something that I often don’t do because in my mind it “doesn’t accomplish anything”. I feel like my time would be better spent getting the kitchen cleaned up or doing a “real” workout. But the times that I do go for a walk, I breath the fresh air and watch the sun dance through the trees and I swear everything slows down. I go back to life completely refreshed and ready to dive in.
Prioritizing one room to keep clean in our house. And letting the rest get messy. I’ll end with a little house keeping tip. Let’s be honest here, it’s summer and you have way more life-giving things to do with your time than keeping your house immaculate. So if you’ve been looking for permission to leave it messy, I’m giving it to you right now. However, from my own bouts with ceaseless mess, I’ve learned that you must have one safe haven that’s always clean. For me the most realistic place for this to be is our bedroom. When you keep one room clean, that can be your oasis, the place you go when your mess overwhelms you. And it can become the place where you go to rest.
Want more lifestyle tips inspired by my simple life in the rural midwest? Join our tribe of homebodies, work-from-home-warriors, and slowness seekers :)