5 ways moms can find downtime

Why you need to rest and ideas on how to make it happen!

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Exodus 20:8

Talk to any mom of little kids about finding time to rest — let alone take a whole day of rest — and she is most likely going to laugh in your face and roll her eyes. I remember the days of being in the thick of it with babies and toddlers who need something nearly every single minute of the day. It was utterly exhausting. While my kiddos are a bit older now, I still struggle to find time to rest. 

There are always so many things we moms juggle. Clothes always need washed. Dishes multiple by the hour. Food needs to be prepared. Groceries need bought. Toilets need scrubbed. Trash needs to be taken out. On and on and on the list goes.

However, we weren’t designed to work all the time. That isn’t how God made us. He has commanded us to have a Sabbath Day and keep it holy. In fact, the word “Sabbath” is used 145 times in the NIV Bible. That tells me God was serious about it, and we should be, too. And that also tells me that God wouldn’t command us to do something impossible.

Finding ways to rest, no matter what phase of life you’re in, is crucial and can be done with a bit of creativity and change of mindset.

1. Define what rest is to you – right now.

In my head, rest means sitting in my recliner with my feet up reading a book and taking naps with no one bothering me. (I should also mention that I’m an introvert, and the best way for me to recharge my batteries is through alone time.) 

While that scenario isn’t unholy or wrong, it also isn’t very feasible. I remember days when I was young and could spend a whole day lazing around reading a book. Nowadays that could be a possibility maybe once every two years. 

So, I need to redefine rest. Think about what rest looks like in this phase of your life. For me, sometimes rest looks like ordering pizza or making frozen food and sitting in my living room for dinner and a movie with my husband and kids. Other times it has meant locking myself in the bathroom for five minutes to regroup!

2. Define your time to rest.

Most of us don’t have an entire day to devote to complete rest, but we do have five minutes here and there. Maybe even an hour or two. Looking at smaller chunks of time as rest time can be helpful. While most of us can’t usually manage to have a whole day free of all responsibility, we can find small pockets of time to refuel and regroup. We can be intentional about what we do with our downtime.

For example, I’ve found that if I have an extra 10 minutes alone in the car while I’m waiting to pick up my kids, I feel more refreshed and refueled if I spend that time reading a book or an article instead of mindlessly perusing social media, which can sometimes make me feel more drained.

3. Prioritize rest.

My to-do list never ends. Right now, I can easily spout off 10 things that I need to do without even pausing. However, sometimes chores and to-do lists just need to wait, so we can rest instead. I know. It’s sort of earth-shattering to realize this. I’ve been aided in this thought by having chronic health issues that force me to rest, but even with that, I still have to prioritize my day.

Today, for example, we have activities in the evening, which means I need to have energy left after dinnertime. To make that happen, I will take 30 minutes before I pick up my kids from school to sit and read or watch a favorite television show. And that’s OK. Yes, I have work I could do. Yes, I have laundry I could fold. Yes, I have bathrooms I could clean. Yes, I have a list of 100 other things that could use my attention, but rest has to be a priority as well.

Give yourself grace to let things go sometimes so that you can rest, just like God commanded you to!

4. Find a way to do something just because you want to.

Sometimes rest is also about just being able to relax and enjoy something. Mamas tend to put everyone and everything else first. That’s OK. It’s noble. It’s necessary. But, sometimes we need to do something just for ourselves to rest and rejuvenate our brains.

Maybe it’s spending 15 minutes after your kids are in bed painting your toenails bright red. Maybe it’s stopping by Starbucks for your favorite drink. Maybe it’s sitting on your front porch listening watching the sun set. Whatever it is, find ways to do something just because you want to and take a respite from obligations.

5. Pray about it.

I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to make a change and start with my own ideas. Usually once I realize my ideas aren’t working, I sigh, roll my eyes and wonder why in the world I didn’t start out with prayer. Because, seriously, shouldn’t we start everything with prayer? And if we are trying to follow a command God has given us, we can trust Him that He will help us follow it.

God can open our eyes to habits we have that are interfering with our rest and downtime. He doesn’t want us to struggle against how we were created. God didn’t command everyone to take a Sabbath except for mothers. His command has no exceptions, which tells us He will help us find rest if we are just willing to go to Him and keep an open heart and mind to His leading.

How do you find your Sabbath?

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