Art by Mary Karapetyan
Here I am, sitting in my little Hyatt hotel room, approaching day six of isolation. The amount of texts I have received saying “Now you have plenty of time to get ahead of work,” or “You have so much time to be productive,” boggles my mind
Does anything count as an acceptable excuse to actually stop doing work and rest nowadays?
I understand I have responsibilities, I understand that I can’t neglect those for weeks on end. But I can’t be the only person in isolation who is tired of getting texts about doing more work.
I am asymptomatic, yes, but that does not mean this isn’t still hard.
As a society, we are always in a hurry. I personally am always running from one thing to the next. I often ask my friends how they are doing and they say, “Well, I am just busy.”
Our phones don’t help anything either. I get home from school or from work and still have constant notifications popping up to do this or that — all sounding urgent. If the slightest feeling of boredom arises, I just reach for my phone and occupy myself by scrolling social media. It’s like I am scared of the silence, I am scared of being bored. Our work weeks are becoming longer while time for ourselves is becoming shorter, and boundaries between personal life and work life are being blurred, according to BBC Worklife.
But I am learning that rest is OK. Taking time for yourself is OK. With or without COVID-19, we all need rest. I need rest, you need rest, Jesus needed rest.
My mom used to always tell me it is OK to say no, it is OK to have time to just sit and think. I am finally taking that advice into consideration — only about eight years later.
I remember having all of these same thoughts during my March 2020 stay-at-home order. It felt like it was a wake-up call that I needed to slow down. But then I fell into the busyness trap again. And guess what — God gave me another wake-up call in the form of a positive test.
Good rest doesn’t just mean a good night of sleep. It means taking time to put your phone down, close your computer screen and do something that actually fills your soul.
For me, rest is calling my family, playing — or attempting to play— an instrument, painting, having a meal with friends, going on a walk, or reading a good book. These activities all get put on the back-burner when I have something to work on.
I am reading a book that talks about having “a quiet place.” A place to go to sit, to read, to pray, to eliminate all distractions. When I began isolation my friend delivered a note that said “welcome to the quiet place.” Isolation can be a quiet place. It can be like a retreat. It doesn’t need to be a place to get ahead on every assignment possible.
So for the next week, I will be appreciating the time to rest. I will be appreciating the silence and I will be learning what real rest looks like in my life. I’ll be playing lots of guitar and most likely annoying the neighbors with my lack of musical knowledge.
I’ll be reading and I’ll probably be spending a lot of time looking out the window. When I enter the real world again, my goal is to still take time to rest and not go back to always hurrying from one activity to the next.
Zoom is tiring, having COVID-19 is tiring, living in such a fast-paced society is tiring. Let’s learn to get real rest, to eliminate the hurry from our lives and to give ourselves and each other grace when we need time to simply rest and relax.
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Contact Abby Wilt via Twitter (@abby_wilt) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org