A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Not Being Weary

Posted on: November 4, 2013

My son stopped napping when he was 18 months old. Occasionally, he’d fall asleep in the car, but mostly he would do crafts and play with blocks and run and climb and stand on his head until he ran out of steam. Then he’d eat something and start again. The cycle repeated until bedtime arrived and he reluctantly turned in for the night.

I often thought I could make a tidy profit if only I could bottle and sell that energy. Actually, I could use some as I write this blog, my coffee within arm’s reach.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed an ever-growing number of products promise to help improve our rest (pillows, teas, herbal supplements, sleep-tracking apps), or at least make us look and act as though we’re well rested (creams to combat dark circles under the eyes, powders and moisturizers to make skin seem more radiant, drinks to boost our energy levels).

With packed-schedule, always-connected lives, people seem more tired these days. Unlike my son, most freely admit it.

Even though we know that getting less rest has its downside—slower reaction time, mental fatigue, and so on—resting seems to be considered a bad thing. Except maybe during the summer or over the Christmas holidays. But we can’t push ourselves and then rest up just twice a year.

A sample of Bible verses about rest at BibleStudyTools.com shows the Bible has a lot to say about our need for and God’s provision of rest:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;

he makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters;

he restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:1-3a*)

“It is in vain that you rise up early

and go late to rest,

eating the bread of anxious toil;

for he gives to his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2)

“Even youths shall faint and be weary,

and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary,

they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)

We can ignore low battery warnings on our electronic devices for a little while before we’re forced to charge them, but we shouldn’t ignore the signs that our own batteries are low. Before extra baking, shopping and parties (not to mention family get-togethers for Thanksgiving, for our American neighbours) cut into our limited downtime, we can make a habit out of building in time to rest and recharge:

  • Make meals easier by using a slow cooker or making meals that can be frozen in batches, as in The Big Cook cookbook. After a busy day (and maybe faced with a busy evening), it’s comforting to know dinner won’t take long.
  • Plan to do less during the upcoming holiday season. I feel a need to make the holidays picture-perfect, but I’ve been scaling back the baking and gift-wrapping over the past few years, for example. For someone else, doing less could mean committing to attend fewer parties or doing some shopping online so the focus remains on the reason for the season. Kate Wicker’s article in the November issue of Catholic Digest, “Do less this holiday season,” offers some good advice.
  • Remember that some things can wait and start getting ready for bed earlier. With PVRs and online library renewals, we don’t need to stay up late to watch a TV show or finish a book. As an avid reader, I find this really challenging, but I try to remember I need the extra sleep more than I want to finish my chapter.
  • Spend time with family. Depending on your interests, that could mean making cookies, hiking, playing board or video games, renting or going to a movie, visiting a museum, playing basketball in the driveway, or something else. Family fun can help us recharge, but it too easily falls by the wayside when life is hectic.
  • Spend time with God by attending Sunday Mass and making time for prayer. Other simple ways to reconnect with God: take part in Eucharistic adoration, attend Mass on your lunch break, listen to worship music while commuting or preparing dinner, or use a Catholic app that provides prayers or an interactive rosary (see Catholic@pps.com for app reviews).

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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