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I am fresh off a week of “vacation,” and when I say fresh I mean it. I feel refreshed! I say vacation with quotes around it because I went to Falls Creek, a youth camp, with the church that my husband attended as a teenager. It’s not a typical vacation, but, with limited cell phone reception and almost no responsibilities other than taking care of my 10 month old, it was like a vacation to me.

How do you take time off? I think this is something that is so important but often overlooked. The business world almost frowns at taking time off. Even when on vacation, the emails don’t stop, and some people expect a reply regardless of you being off duty.

That’s how last week was for me. Being disconnected was mostly out of my control due to lack of cell phone service, but what a blessing it was to disconnect for about 95 percent of my day each day.

A wise person said last week, as we were talking about rest and the importance of it, “It’s a lot harder to focus on and hear God when your mind is blurred with being tired and needing rest.”

I had never thought of it that way, but once I thought about our conversation more, I wholeheartedly agree with what my friend said.

Yes, it is our duty to make time for God, regardless of how busy we are; we should never be too busy for God. However, don’t you have an easier time carving that specific time with God out of your schedule when you feel adequately rested?

As a mother of a nearly one-year-old, rest can seem like a foreign concept to me at times. Long gone are the days where my husband and I sleep eight hours or more a night. But I asked myself, as I marveled at all the things I got to do that I don’t normally do during our time off, why don’t I normally get to do these things?

So, whether you get to go somewhere fun on family vacation, or you just take a long weekend with the family, some things I told myself that I could do to find rest in my daily routine are:

  1. Put my cell phone down. I know I’m not the only person with this problem, but especially late at night when I lay in bed, I’ll mindlessly scroll through social media newsfeeds that I’ve consumed enough of during the day. Without cell service inside the cabin where we were sleeping, I found myself spending more time with God, more time in prayer, reading more books and going to bed earlier.
  2. Get to bed. This one is hard, because many times, after I put my little one down for bed, I do house work that I don’t have time for while he’s awake. But admittedly, I could still get to bed earlier if I were more diligent with my time. Getting to bed earlier would do a lot to increase my day-to-day amount of rest.
  3. Turn off the television. Are all of these suggestions super “Millennial” of me? I’m not sure, but sometimes after a long day at work, and a full evening of caring for my son, I like to watch a show or two. Whether it’s a funny show that I have watched a million times through (The Office or Parks and Recreation) or a new crime-documentary, I would probably do better to shut the T.V. off and do something around the house or just go to bed.
  4. Read for fun. I did a lot of reading just for fun last week, and it was during times where, if I had had cell phone service, I would have been scrolling through my phone. Instead, I dove into one of my favorite fiction series and allowed my mind to explore a magical world full of fun and exploration. A lot of times I feel like I have to be reading something “productive” or some sort of book that teaches me something. That’s not always the case. Have some fun with your reading. You’ll find what I did, that you will reach for a book more often than you may reach for your phone.

These are just a few things I noticed about why I enjoyed my time off last week. Of course, the biggest source of joy came from spending time with my family, in a Christ-filled environment, surrounded by friends.

I encourage you to try and do some of the above mentioned things and see how it refreshes your soul and offers your mind the chance to rest.