Friday, September 23, 2011

The Importance of Rest in the Home

Two Doves
by Alphonse Muraton 1824-1911

Come Rest Awhile
by Lucy Maude Montgomery  1874-1942

Come rest awhile, and let us idly stray,
In glimmering valleys, cool and far away.

Come from the greedy mart, the troubled street,
And listen to the music, faint and sweet,

That echoes ever to a listening ear,
Unheard by those who will not pause to hear­

The wayward chimes of memory's pensive bells,
Wind-blown o'er misty hills and curtained dells.

One step aside and dewy buds unclose
The sweetness of the violet and the rose;

Song and romance still linger in the green,
Emblossomed ways by you so seldom seen,

And near at hand, would you but see them, lie
All lovely things beloved in days gone by.

You have forgotten what it is to smile
In your too busy life--­come, rest awhile.

In a Rock Garden
by Alfred DeBreanski

For good health, a sound mind, and a feeling of well-being, homemakers should include rest in their daily routines. Rest can often be neglected, as we push ahead to the next important task. Sleeping at night is not enough. For this reason, a homemaker might find it necessary to write the word "rest" somewhere on her list of things to do.

Establish a resting time by doing it regularly if you canOne aged aunt of mine, a widow, "took to her bed" for about a half an hour every afternoon, no matter what.  She arose quite early to tend  her farm chores and  by early afternoon, she needed to have her nap, so that she could be well rested for late afternoon and evening activities. After people had grown used to this custom, she  did not announce her rest time, but would quietly slip away to a small room for about half an hour. She had done this for so long, that her relatives just expected her to take to her bed every afternoon, whether they were there or not.

Women of all ages and stages of life can have a rest time.
When mothers  need to put her feet up and read or write a letter or take a nap,  children can sit quietly on a couch or their beds, and even if they do not sleep, do something of a quiet nature.

Mothers of older children can still have a resting time, even if they do not need to sleep. It can be observed as a tea time or a special time where they do something that relaxes them, whether it be picking up their knitting or watching a favorite movie.

 Women without children still need rest, and perhaps it is even more essential, since they do not have children's schedules to slow them down, and can be more likely to keep moving and working at home. 

 Unmarried women at home still need to take time to rest, to give them the good health to tackle any future hard times, should they come.

Older women need restful times and need to avoid stress, as at that stage in their life, their health and well-being can be a delicate balance.

A Summer Garden
by Alfred DeBreanski, 1877-1957

Resist the tendency to make work out of resting time. It is restful to go for a stroll, but it is tempting to turn it into serious exercise. It is relaxing to have a tea time, but it can easily turn into something more elaborate by serving so many treats and using so many dishes that it becomes
more work than rest. It is good to read something that interests you, but do not feel you have to start a project that will put pressure on you and take up more of your time. It is wonderful to sit on a rocking chair on the front porch, but it is not restful if you are thinking of more things to do. It is lovely to look at sewing magazines or read about the interesting things other people are making, but it becomes a labor if you feel you have to do it all.

 Some women are so busy that they could make work out of a vacation. Rest can be learned by treating it as a type of art. If you were learning to paint, you would start your lessons with basic equipment, and work at short and simple lessons, until you became more at ease with it. It is the same with rest: begin slowly and form a habit, until you feel you know what you are doing and can get the most benefit from it.

A Wayside House
by Alfred De Breanski Jr.

The Art of Rest:  To rest adequately, remove all tension from your mind. Do not spend a moment reading or listening to the news or anything that can create uneasiness, worry or a feeling of being uncertain or unsettled.  Use the time to mull over a verse of scripture and ponder its meaning, or repeat an inspirational poem.

 Lucy Maude Montgomery's poem about rest is interesting, because it tells us that even in her day, people were too busy and had to be reminded to rest.  She speaks of all the things that were loved "in days gone by." Those who lived before us were just as nostalgic of the past, or of the days gone by, as many of us are in this present age. The things they missed "in days gone by" were those quiet moments when life was pleasant. 

Keep Rest Time Restful. During rest time, do not allow your thoughts to land on any gloom or despair, but deliberately guide them to things that are pleasant. "Whatever is good, pure and lovely," (Philippians 4:4-9)  If worrisome thoughts tend to come into your head, it will take some steady practice to replace them, each time, with something better. Some people keep a song in their hearts, for this purpose. Each time they begin to worry, they hum their song, or mentally recite the words to a beautiful song, poem, or scripture. Some people like to play soothing music when napping or resting, especially if it is a familiar tune.

There are many types of resting times, including being still for awhile, sitting in a rocking chair, or laying down. It is not necessary to fall asleep when taking a rest. Lay down for 5 minutes, whether you feel like it or not, increasing it 5 more minutes each day, until you can lay down for twenty minutes.   If you are a busy person, this will not be easy, but if you look at it as an art and as part of your routine, it will be easier to establish the habit. Upon arising from a nap, wash your face in cool water and have something to drink. Start quietly back into your day.

The Dove Cote
by Alfred DeBreanski

"And I said, O that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Psalm 55:6

Rest can become something you look forward to, as you set aside time and plan restful activities or prepare your resting area. A comfy couch with a foot rest, a quiet time between meals, and a stack of reading you have saved for such a time, all add to the comfort and serenity of rest time. Gather all your materials for letter writing or crochet, or get a stack of magazines and take to your bed. You need not stay long, but do cultivate the art of rest, daily, and you will experience the physical and spiritual good that it does.

Do not feel guilty about resting, especially if you are a homemaker. Homemaking is hard work in a way that many people will not understand. The homemaker's mind is on many different areas of home life, and there is always something to do to keep her busy.  It is the most important job in the world, and warrants regular resting periods, even if they are only five minutes at a time.

In past times, women had their needlework, embroidery, porcelain painting, sewing, or other quiet things that did not take a lot of effort but required them to retire temporarily from their work and sit still.  Today there is tremendous pressure on homemakers to market their skills or things they produce at home.  I have heard people admire something a woman has sewn or made, and then say, "You could sell those on ebay while your children are taking a nap," or, "You could make a hundred of those and sell them in a Christmas bazaar."  No one seems satisfied to allow a homemaker to sew one child's dress, or crochet a tea cozy, just for a relaxing pasttime. They insist that she must make merchandise of it.

When you take your rest, it is not necessary to pay any heed to other people's opinions of whether or not you should have time off. You have to establish the habit and insist on doing it. Sometimes even the immediate family, including older children, husband, parents and even grand-parents want you to be "productive" financially. They think you are wasting your time and talents if you are not selling something, but the stress of making a business out of your rest time will defeat the purpose of rest.

You can cut down on the cost of your own health care if you will rest a few minutes throughout the day. Lack of rest can cause you to feel slow and run-down, requiring loss of time in your work. As you get further behind, due to ill health or tiredness, you will find it to be costly, and you have to play a strenuous game of catch-up in your work when you recover. When you preserve your health through regular rest, you preserve your own economy in many ways, which is something we could discuss in another post.

Guard your rest time. Once you have established the routine of regular rest, you will have to guard it by not allowing too many exceptions. There was an old fashioned rule of many homes that mother was not to be disturbed unless the house was on fire or someone was seriously hurt.  If you only rest for five minutes, problems will not gain enough time to erupt.. You can take five untroubled minutes of rest several times throughout the day.  While it is good to be flexible and alert to the needs of the family, it is still possible to sit still for a few minutes and rest.

Summer by the Lake
by Susan Rios

Prepare a Restful Place. In anticipation of a resting time, some people suggest  making your bed and adding a small blanket on top of your bed spread so that you will not have to get under the covers, and include a few extra pillows for comfort.  Close the curtains and try to get the room well shaded.  If your curtains allow too much light for comfortable rest, just use some clothespins and attach some dark fabric, such as dark brown or dark green polar fleece, on top of your curtain rod.  Keep a glass of cold water near by, and turn down your phone or anything that may cause a disturbance. If you just want to be still for a few minutes,  look around your house to find possible places for rest areas

The purpose of rest is not just for the relief of tension or to rest tired feet or a sore back. Other health benefits include clearer thinking, better memory, better judgement, healing,  more energy, less tension, and better digestion. Affective weight loss is also dependent upon adequate rest. A search on the importance of rest can reveal much more, including building the immune system and preventing illness. Emotions are more stable when the body and mind have had rest. Any child that seems strung out and fussy or is constantly crying, needs a nap or rest-time,  and so do adults. Adequate rest reduces confusion and irritability.

 The Ritual of Rest Can  Establish Confidence and Comfort in Daily Living . People who have lived before us have known the value of rest and have taken advantage of certain times of the day or week to indulge in rest. For some reason, their dependence on following certain habits throughout the day or week, whether it be taking tea at three, or sitting on the porch in the evening, gave them stability. Knowing at least partially what was going to happen during a day created reassurance and lack of worry. Rest time can become one of those dependable times that gives stability to your life.

...ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

                                                                        Jeremiah 6:16

To print this article, click on the post title first.  Highlight the web address that comes up in the i.e. space or whatever you are using, at the top of the screen.  Then go here and paste it in the url space. It will come up as a printable page.

For more information on creating good health, there is a wonderful book here you can purchase, which I do plan to review sometime in the future.


Amy Techentin said...

Thank you for this reminder today as I plan out my coming week.
With this new busy season and schedule of homeschooling and chores, I have been neglecting a rest time and find myself ready to drop about the time I need to make dinner! I will be scheduling a half hour in my afternoon to sit down and rest now.
Thank you for your encouraging words to us-you are a blessing!


Lynne said...

This encouraging and uplifting post is what I needed to read today. There are many helpful suggestions to ponder and practice. I especially struggle with thoughts that want to steal away my rest so I appreciate the reminder to send them away and replace them with a Scripture or a song....something lovely, good, and pure.

Ginger said...

Wonderful, delightful post! I've made my bedroom quite inviting and have seen rest do a wonderful thing for my health.

Lydia said...

Rest is also a natural muscle relaxant, and can relieve various types of pain and dis-ease. Some people say that more rest helps them to have clear skin or get rid of illnesses caused by nervousness.

Whatever the benefits, rest is something that God created for the renewal of the body and the spirit. Jesus asked his disciples to come away with him to a quiet place, and rest.

Anonymous said...

You posted a while back some titles of fiction that inspired women in their homemaking. Do you have any other titles you can give us? :)
Thank you in advance!

Lydia said...

Without enough rest, we tend to have more accidents and health issues. Even your skin quality has a lot to do with rest.

Anonymous said...

If you want to get very relaxed and able to sleep more easily in the day, wear loose clothing, or put on a flannel nightgown and sleep unrestricted by waistbands and buttons, etc. Gowns are often very roomy and you can rest without being pinched by your clothing.

Cynthia Berenger said...

I deeply appreciate this post. Thank you. In my efforts to support the family, I have been over-scheduled and under-rested. You reminded me of the need for a bit of rest during the day.

Anonymous said...

Now that my husband has retired my days have many more interruptions. I have noted he finds time to take a nap and so I should do so too. I find myself running around almost more than before trying to catch up on things. My time now not being my own, the house is getting run down it seems. He still does the usual things he did but nothing he did were the every day things it takes to run a home. He still does the mowing and car maintenance and such that can be done or put off for a while. I realize I only have so much time and between him and the house I have to make some changes. Our time together is important so I need to find some ways to get things done in a simpler way. The way it is now is too frustrating. Taking time for a nap or rest was not something I would have thought of in my days that already seem to full. Yet as I read your post I realized the real importance of it. It is not selfish but uplifting. I have allowed myself to even do with out the reading and Bible study I had usual been doing. I was loosing too much rest. Thank you for turning around my thinking. Lady Lydia, have you any advice maybe later in a post on how to manage homemaking around a retired husband who is home now 24/7? I imagine there are many in this situation due to illness or retirement. Some husbands find things to do outside of the home but some like mine, stay at home except for times when we are out together. Thank you for your valuable mentoring. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Lady Lydia, for this timely reminder. I get feeling guilty when I'm tired and want to rest. I have health issues and our children are grown and gone to their own homes, but I still am sooo busy! I want - no, I need to take a rest in the day. Thank you for this reminder.
blessings to you - carol

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this detailed and practical post.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog, and this is off topic, but I really wanted to have your opinion on something. I went to a movie with some ladies from church; I was the oldest, though not old enough for a "senior citizen's discount." When I got up to the counter, the high school aged looking boy asked me my age. I wasn't expecting it, so I responded with "Excuse me?" He told me that some woman bawled him out for not asking her about her senior citizen's discount, I told him it's not nice to ask a woman's age, but that, no, I'm not old enough for that. Am I wrong? Hasn't it always been considered rude to ask a lady's age? Surely there's a nicer way to ask about a discount. Am I over-sensitive or "too vain"? And, how should I have handled that? Thank you. I really appreciate your outlook and value your opinion!

Anonymous said...

To the lady who was asked her age: I had a experience a little similar when I was in my younger 30's. I was at a museum, and the curator asked me if I was under 18 and would like to join their youth club... I was excessively amused, and told the curator of her mistake. She was so embarrassed! I thought it was flattering, but I realized when she felt awkward about her mistake, the best thing to do was just laugh it off as a joke. When I was a teenager I used to get miffed because I was offered the children's menu at restaurants. Now of course I think it was funny.

So maybe you could just find amusement in it, and realizing that the person behind the counter is just as embarrassed or even upset because they made a mistake with a customer. Next time you could say, when asked how old you are, "not old enough for a senior discount!"

Lydia said...

The most important thing about rest is the way it removes you from noise and pressures and helps you think about your soul, and God, and your connection to eternity.

Debbie said...

Everyone needs rest. When my kids were little I took a nap everyday. Now that they are older, I don't has much. Yesterday I just gave in and sleep for about half an hour.