I am not a nice person without rest. All of my worst qualities bubble through the surface and my self-control vanishes; I become snappy, irritable, and whiny. Kind of like my 6-month-old.
God so clearly made us to need rest. We know it in our spirits, and the medical field confirms it. I find it helpful to think about rest in two separate ways: sleep and restful periods during the day.
Sleep: There’s no glory in being the person who survives on 4 hours of sleep a night. We’re wired differently, and some of us require more (or less) sleep than others, but don’t deny yourself a biological need because it gives you a sense of being more productive. All areas of your life will suffer. I go to bed crazy early these days because I know those hours are the most reliable for solid sleep. That will evolve as the seasons in our family change, but for now it’s the healthiest option.
Rest during the day: This could be napping, but it could also be reading, taking a walk, watching your favorite show. The point is to relax, release the tension, and force the stress out of your mind for just a little while. We all have different rhythms to our days, weeks, and months. We function best on different patterns. For me, some downtime every single day is crucial. Without it, I become overstimulated, exhausted, and cranky. So even though I have a baby to take care of, I sincerely attempt to find some period of rest each day (I’m not saying this is easy). Some people can stay laser focused all week and get all the rejuvenation they require with a restful weekend. Figure out what works for you, and force yourself to do it. There’s no need to burn out.
When it comes to living in contentment, I’ve found that rest must be a priority. Without it, our bodies and emotions just don’t function like they should. We were built for regular periods of rest; don’t deny yourself those times.