For most Americans, this past year has been the most stressful time of our lives. From Covid19 fears to federal and state mandates that have hindered people from work, this list goes on.
There are 73% of Americans who say that stress is negatively impacting their mental health; 33% say they are under “extreme stress.” Most recent reports on American health report there has been a “dramatic upsurge” of mental illness, suicide, and divorce over the past year. You think?
As a missionary and pastor for over 40 years, a husband to my dear Liz for 36 years, and parenting seven children, stress is the air I constantly breathe. There is literally always a stressful situation to deal with in my ministry and family.
I have discovered that taking time for rest is vital to my life. Health magazine recently wrote, “Rest is vital for better mental health, increased concentration and memory, a healthier immune system, reduced stress, improved mood, and even a better metabolism.” (4/16/21)
Rest can be difficult to define because it can look different for everyone. Rest is any behavior aimed at increasing your physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental well-being. It can be as active as working out at the gym, or more passive, such as taking a 10-minute power nap. Regardless of how you choose to rest, these daily behaviors can help you recover and recharge from physical and mental effort. That’s why better rest is linked to better physical and mental health.
Here are some things that I do to recharge my spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional life:
- Time alone with the Lord. Every day, I begin with reading my Bible, praying, and meditating on Scripture.
- Fly fishing. I love the outdoors, and being on a stream fishing for trout is restorative.
- Praying with Liz. I love praying over pressing issues with my wife.
- Reading a great book. I love biographies, history, and theology. Taking time to read such books keeps me fired up.
- Working out. I love doing push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and squats every other day.
- Sitting by a blazing fire. I really enjoy sitting inside or outside by a blazing fire. I don’t know exactly why, but the ambiance of a fire is one of the most therapeutic things I do.
Take time to rest—it’s good for your health!