Social Workers are well aware of the importance of self-care. In fact, it is something that everyone should pay attention to. Ensuring that our own needs are met, relaxing and spending time with whom and what we enjoy, and making sure that we recharge our batteries are all important aspects of self-care. In that vein, over the past few months, I have spent most of my Sundays doing something I am not really used to doing. But I have found it so helpful for my own self-care!
As in, sleeping. After church and lunch, I have been climbing into my bed, tucked nice and warm under a heated blanket (cold weather has lingered far too long) and sleeping all afternoon. Allowing my body and mind to catch up on the sleep I so desperately need but don’t always get. Going into a deep slumber away from the busyness and the chaos that is the life I love, but need a break from sometimes. In fact, just knowing that I will have this time for myself helps me breathe easier during the stressful weeks.
When I first started taking these naps, I felt guilty. I questioned myself for not being productive during that time. I wondered if my time would be better spent doing something else. After all, who doesn’t have a never ending “to do” list? But, then, God reminded me of something. A very simple truth from the first pages of the Old Testament. God rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done. (Paraphrased from Genesis 2:2).
Exodus 20:8-11 tells us to keep the Sabbath day holy, and again reminds us that God Himself rested on the 7th day. Fellow social workers, if God Himself rested…shouldn’t we? He had a plan for this rest and I believe we should honor that. Thankfully, I came to the realization that I was being productive during these naps. They are just what I need to help re-energize for another busy week to come. And we all know that in order to help care for others, we have to take care of ourselves.
Perhaps not everyone needs the extra sleep, but there are different ways to rest. Maybe you make sure Sundays are spent with family and friends. Maybe you make sure you don’t work on Sundays (unless it’s really necessary). Maybe you take a break from your computer and phone. There are lots of ways to take a break to rest. I am thankful for rest. It’s the self-care I need to recharge. I hope you also rest. May I suggest you go take a nap?
We should never feel guilty about rest. As long as we’re actually resting – and not using rest as an excuse to be lazy and slob about the house – then rest is important, it’s productive and rewarding. We were created to need rest, there is a reason we get tired, because once in a while its good to rest. One of the reasons principal reasons God created us to need rest is simply so we remember the world can go on without us. To show us again it’s Him who created and sustains the world, not us. And this is a good thing.
Rest means different things for us all. For me, rest means turning off my phone and leaving my computer. Not writing, not engaging, just resting my mind and body. It will be something different for you. You’ll know what it is. The activity which recharges you, gives you energy, revitalises you. It could be just sitting on the sofa in front of the TV, or it could be going for a run. It’s different for us all. And it’s okay. Remember, Jesus slept. He withdrew to quiet places, He rested at the well because He was tired. So go on, take a rest today. And don’t feel guilty about it.
Dr. Laurel Shaler