Do you take a day of rest?

day of rest

For our first two years in Charleston, Mike worked full time while he finished his PhD in his “free” time. We rearranged our household priorities, valuing productivity above almost everything else.

While I didn’t have the same pressures that Mike did, I stepped up to absorb any responsibilities not related to Mike’s work. I didn’t need to spend as many hours working as Mike did, but our household culture became very work focused.

I’ve always been around people who are smarter and faster, but I take pride in my ability to discipline myself and work hard. I feel good about myself when I’m working.

During the PhD season, I naturally fell into a rhythm of working whenever Mike did…which was always. Watching a show or taking a nap while he worked felt indulgent, even though he encouraged me to rest.

Most of the time, I didn’t resent the hours he worked at night and on the weekends; I relished the chance to work on my own projects. I fleshed out the concept for this blog, set up the infrastructure and published during those hours.

As the months dragged on, Mike grew more exhausted, wearied to the bone. He often expressed a desire to keep a “sabbath” once he finished – a true day of rest out of every week.

I voiced approval, but internally didn’t share his desire for a day of rest, and didn’t really believe it possible. If I’m really to do no work at all, when will I do my laundry, for example?

It’s been eight months (to the day!) since Mike finished his PhD, and we rarely take an entire day of rest. Don’t get me wrong. We relax, we socialize, we sleep later on the weekends. We aren’t workaholic maniacs.

But one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is working on blog stuff at a coffee shop. That’s work, in a sense, but it’s also relaxing.

What is work, and what is rest, anyway? 

If I work on something that gives me energy, isn’t that a version of rest? If I expend energy toward an outcome but feel more energized afterwards, is that work or is it rest? Is it somehow both?

Hours in front of a television or sitting on the couch all day sound like rest, but nothing drains my energy more.

When I think about the desire to rest from work, I think of work that is burdensome and exhausting. Some types of work are restorative and rejuvenating, not draining. Even hard work done with a servant’s heart can be energizing.

Rest doesn’t just mean turning my brain on autopilot and sleeping. Rest isn’t lethargy. Rest is taking a break from those things that drain and exhaust my energy, and spending time doing the things that restore and rejuvenate.

For me, that looks like more of this:

  • Writing
  • One on one time with Mike
  • Time with friends
  • Eating out
  • Reading for fun or education (both are rejuvenating for me)
  • Big picture planning
  • Extra sleep
  • Exercise

…and less of this:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • Involved cooking
  • Errands
  • Overly scheduled days
  • Worry

What does your day of rest look like?

7 thoughts on “Do you take a day of rest?

  1. One of my goals this year is for my day of rest to be internet-free. I’m not totally there yet :). Also restful for me: reading, catching up with a friend, watching a good movie, napping, talking walks.
    Like the pic you used above–I laughed because I actually just used the same one in an eBook I’m writing :).

  2. i love this! i take Saturday off – no blogging, work, schedules, to-do lists or HAVE TO dos. i can do some of that stuff if i want to but only if i want to :) a day of rest means just letting go of things that “need to get done” and we end up spending Saturdays with friends, dates, movie marathons, just whatever it turns into! I do enjoy taking the break from my social media to just be present!

  3. I am new to your blog, but I found it through the aroundthetablepodcast. I am in a PharmD program working toward being a pharmacist and I feel that there are a lot of things that draining pertaining to classwork and exams. You mentioned that even hard work done with a servan’ts heart can be energizing. Do you have any advice on how to bring a servant’s heart/perspective to daily school work? Maybe some advice that helped Mike get through his PhD? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Rebekka, welcome! That’s a great question. I think anytime you can make your work about something bigger than yourself, it’s way more energizing. What people will ultimately be served by you carrying out this study? What will you be able to do for your family or future family?
      I also know that Mike felt discouraged and overwhelmed often during his PhD work, and there is a degree of just slogging through it. But I know for him making the “why” bigger than his own ambition definitely made the work more meaningful. I hope that helps. Keep up the good work- it matters!

      1. Thank you for the reply! When I am stressed it is easy to forget the big picture or the “why” behind going to pharmacy school. Another recommendation that I have had in the past is to remember that it is all temporary. That the exam or the student lifestyle or the stress of class is temporary. Thank you again, and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *