By Kayla Lutes, Features Editor

The first part of this series focused on ways to be restful: be balanced, be reflective and be intentional. Part II focuses on ways to be intentional in rest and what to guard against to ensure that precious moments of rest are not stolen by the busyness of modern life.

  1. Be Aware of Cultural Temptations

Chair of Psychology Paul Nessleroade points to changing culture as a cause of the lack of rest. “You look at the history of humanity, and you realize [rest] must have been a significant part of peoples’ lives for almost all of recorded history,” he said. “Now in the west, it’s being largely removed.” He contributed this move away from rest as a result of the communication revolution which makes stepping away from work more difficult than it has ever been.

Kevin Bellew, associate dean of Wholeness and Wellness, agrees with Nessleroad. “Culture dictates the way we rest,” Bellew said. He pointed out that other parts of the world have cultures that place less emphasis on work and more emphasis on living intentionally. He described the scene of African women sitting for hours bonding and braiding one another’s hair. “That doesn’t exist [in our culture],” he said.

2. Say ‘No’

According to Bellew, our culture equates busyness with importance. However, our cultural obsession with busyness could be odds with our Christian call and our basic humanity.

Assistant Director of Student Leadership Development Heather Tyner says that rest makes us human. “Culture advocates for us to be as non-human as possible,” she said. “Being really human means being the creatures God meant for us to be, knowing our worth is not in what we produce but who we are: beloved and chosen by God.”

This is why saying ‘no’ is so important. Saying ‘no’ prioritizes rest in a way that allows for reflection and introspection that ultimately connects us to ourselves and to God.

“We all need the ability to say ‘no’ to good things, because we can’t rest when we’re in 19 activities: president of this, taking 16 hours and deciding we’re going to be in sophomore musical,” Bellew said.

   3. Schedule Rest

One way to be sure to rest is to schedule it within the day. If rest is scheduled for a certain time, then other activities can’t creep in and steal that time away. Bellew cited apps that aid in rest as great tools to use in order to rest intentionally.

He recommends Headspace, Breathe and Pacifica. “These are take care of yourself kinds of things,” he said. “They’re programs to help us slow down.”

Nessleroade suggested a less structured form of rest, saying that rest comes when we decide at some point in the day that “I’m going to be by myself, my phone is away, and I’m just going to rest.”

Whether carving out a specific time each day with the use of resting apps or being sure to set aside a time of doing nothing is more appealing, it’s important to keep in mind the benefit that rest will bring to the remainder of the day.

“The rest of your time will become more intentional [when you rest],” Bellew said. “It’s not just about the time you spent resting; it’s about the rest of the day.”