We’ve all heard the research: rest is important, and without it, we burn out. We know resting is a good idea (and have learned how burnout wreaks havoc on our bodies and relationships the hard way).

But resting isn’t just a quantity issue - it’s a quality issue, too. If you don’t know what kind of rest truly restores your mind, body, and soul, you may not be experiencing the quality rest you need. It’s time to think about what activities are restful for you, and perhaps more important, what isn’t.

For example, some people are “active resters,” and playing football with friends, hiking, or gardening helps wind them down. Others thrive on stillness and quiet. Knowing what type of rest restores you allows you to be intentional with your time and say “no” to activities that may be restful for others, but not you.

There are some activities that are inherently unrestful for almost all of us. Facebook, Instagram, and other social media are not a good use of your downtime. Studies show that spending time on social media actually makes us feel worse about ourselves. That’s not how we want to feel after supposedly resting!

Your personality affects the way you rest, too. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Many understand those personality types to mean “outgoing” or “shy,” but in reality, they tell you where you get your energy. An introvert is energized by alone time, while an extrovert is energized through social interaction. Which type of rest is best for you? If you’re an introvert, don’t fill your time dedicated to rest with social engagements. If you’re an extrovert, don’t just hunker down with a stack of books. Identify what activities restore your energy, and be intentional about choosing the type of rest that works for you.

Finding time to rest in the midst of chaotic schedules, technology at our fingertips, and the pull of social media make resting much harder than it should be. We all want to rest and avoid burnout. We only have a few minutes each day to dedicate to rest - or if we’re lucky, a week or two each year - but our phones are in are hands, so that’s where we turn.

What if you set aside just 15 minutes each day, phone-free, to dedicate to an activity that gives you rest? Maybe it’s a quick phone call to a friend or a few minutes of quiet and a good book. Determine what refuels you and give yourself the gift of rest.

In the next blog we’re going to share some ideas for how you can build rest into your schedule more intentionally. But before then, we’d love to hear from you: what activities truly restore you? Are you energized by being with others or through alone time? Share in the comments and let us know!

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