The Importance of Rest and Recovery

The Importance of Rest and Recovery

Enoma Osakue

Do you remember those “Life comes at you fast” Nationwide commercials?

That’s how transition can feel at times! There is always something unexpected around the corner and you barely have time to react before something else happens. It’s in the middle of all that crazy that you need rest and recovery the most. That said, it’s hard. So, I’m sharing four resources to help you learn about rest, and why you should prioritize it.

Two Common Misconceptions about Rest

When someone mentions rest, what comes to mind? A lot of the time we equate the word to sleep as the natural process we need to restore our bodies. Sometimes we think of it as downtime, like Prime time TV after work. But rest is more than that. In her blog, “5 Questions to Ask Yourself If You’re Not Getting Enough Rest” Mental health therapist Kylie Bennett defines rest as:

...the intentional ceasing or slowing of striving, making, producing, working. Making space for being with (yourself and others): enjoying, delighting, playing, relishing, reflecting, remembering, dreaming...

Kylie goes on to explain that you can be doing “restful” activities and not actually be at rest. It’s like that time you slept in or binge-watched a show and yet were incredibly exhausted and unproductive afterwards. You can read more about the barriers to proper rest in her post as well.

Rest Is About Restoring Your Soul

In a post about hustle culture, I shared how for a few years I literally worked myself sick, not once, but twice. I fundamentally lacked an understanding of restoration. I would simply look forward to weekends —where I could get work done at a slower pace.

In that post I shared a book that shaped my understanding of rest and why we need it. Mark Buchanan explains how The Lord of The Rings captures the healing nature of rest.

...such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of The Rest of God at your local library. This book helped me evaluate my motivations behind crowding out my schedule and not prioritizing rest. In truth, we don’t have a good reason to neglect rest. We mostly have lame excuses about why we don’t trust God, others, and even ourselves.

The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath|Paperback
Widely-acclaimed author Mark Buchanan states that what we’ve really lost is “the rest of God-the rest God bestows and, with it, that part of Himself we can know only through stillness.” Stillness as a virtue is a foreign concept in our society, but there is wisdom in God’s own rhythm...

Prioritizing Rest as An Entrepreneur

And how should we think about rest as we run our businesses? As entrepreneurs, we’re particularly susceptible to burning ourselves out. Some good friends at Praxis Labs explain:

Our vocation tends to make us both eager to work hard and constantly haunted by a sense of urgency and busyness. It also often deprives us of opportunities to balance mental and emotional effort with the development of our soul and our physical body.

In their booklet, a Rule of Life for Redemptive Entrepreneurs, they encourage us to develop “a set of practices to guard our habits and guide our lives” so that we can pursue our purpose in business without turning our hearts into a breeding ground for toxicity.

Read more about the Rule of Life here.

Hopefully I’ve made the case here that rest is worth prioritizing. It is essential to our ability to think, create, dream, and love others. Every expression of meaning in this life is tied to our ability to experience it. Even though we go through seasons of transition where it seems like rest is time lost, it truly is not. If anything, it’s one of the most meaningful investments we can make with our time.

This is one of several posts with advice for new professionals and college graduates in my Adulting 101 Series. Find more of them here.