A woman in our fellowship sent me this note:

Don’t forget to take time for yourself. You think of others alllllll the time…Don’t forget to take a deep breath every now and then and focus just on yourself . . . You won’t be as effective as God wants you to be if you don’t sometimes take care of yourself . . . Also, I feel like things are going to get so much busier for you and Niki, and you know that, too, since you have received confirmation about that from God. So I feel like it’s sort of like resting for the work that is ahead of you — like you have to make sure you are ready for whatever it is that is coming. I just feel like God is telling me, as your friend, to tell you to make sure to rest because you have a whole lot of work ahead of you.

At the time, I wasn’t feeling particularly unrested or tapped out. But I heeded those words, and spent the next week figuring out how I like to rest. What a mental challenge! After some serious effort following Button’s birth, I was able to identify what it is I like to do. But liking doing something is really different than resting. They aren’t the same.

I paid really close attention that week to situations and activities that I found restful and those that quickly ate up anything in my “relax” bank. Here’s what works for me:

— Easy listening or instrumental music (love that worship!)
— Soft lighting and candles. Fluorescentsblekh!
— Cozy clothes . . . and no makeup
Going to bed early
— Being outside. And being outside some more.
— Hot pads (esp. on my neck)
— Quiet activities like reading, journaling, or just being (not TV)
— Minimal points of attention (having multiple things to focus on or distract me heightens my stress)
— Baths
— Strolling through Michaels or Bed, Bath, & Beyond without kids or a shopping list
— Throw away the lists
— Ignore the clock
— Turn off the ringer