Five Rhythms of Rest We’ve Implemented
Sharing today the Five ways Todd and I have implemented rhythms of rest into our lives this past year, and HOW they have helped our family, health, and marriage!
Todd and I both own our own businesses and can have tendencies of workaholism, meaning it’s hard for us to turn off our work brains and put it all away each day. Todd has owned his own business now for 6 years and worked for the previous owner for 8 years before that, so he has been highly invested in this business and his customers for many years. Todd is an E9 (the Peacemaker), and he is actually pretty good at resting when he has the opportunity!
As business owners, neither of us have ever taken a business class or have a business degree! This is quite laughable, but what we lack in business knowledge/strategy, we make up for in our desire to provide our customers the best experience and quality of care. As an E1, I’m naturally a perfectionist and pretty ambitious. I love to work and create and honestly, it’s hard to quit when I need to. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can lead to overworking, and when you own your own business, there is no 9-5. There are a hundred reasons I LOVE being business owners, but it’s not uncommon for us to be doing work at odd hours of the day. Todd always has his phone on him because a customer may need help with something ASAP, and I’m often working outside of normal business hours as I only have 2.5 days of childcare.
This is one reason we purchased our Lake VRBO – to give us a place to get away where we do NOT open our laptops, we keep our phones put away, and we give our kids our FULL attention. But at the beginning of 2021, we decided to set some goals on prioritizing rest. Here they are:
- Sabbath Rest
- Date Night every Night
- Real date night 1-2x/month
- Weekend Away
- Budgeted vacation
- Sabbath Rest – God is the Creator of rest. He didn’t rest on the 7th day because He NEEDED to, He rested to set an example for US because He knew WE would need it! He even commands us to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy. Again, this is to His glory, but WE also benefit from it!
What does Sabbath rest look like for us? We go to church, we enjoy time with family, we physically rest, and we often do something active together as a family. We try not to do anything that feels like work besides the essentials of keeping the house somewhat tidy and meal making (so we don’t start the week way behind). But for the most part, I avoid housework and laundry and keep my work closed for the day. If you work on Sundays, I’d encourage you to do Sabbath another day of the week! I have friends who work for a church and they do sabbath rest on Saturdays.
How can you be more intentional with your Sabbath? It not only honors the Lord, but it’s also given for your own good as well!! If you have trouble breaking from work to Sabbath, I’d love to challenge your thinking behind that! Do you trust and believe that God can handle your business and work so you can rest? When I start to think that my business won’t survive if I don’t rest, then I’m not trusting that the God who’s called me to it will provide for it as well.
- Date Night Every Night – This is not my phrase – this is from sweet Francie Winslow who I adore. She has a blog and podcast called Heaven in your Home and speaks about finding intimacy and connection in marriage. She talks about setting aside date night every night – which means prioritizing time with your spouse each day. Maybe evening doesn’t work for you, but maybe noon hour or before the kids wake up is a better time. For Todd and I, we try to connect each night before we go to bed, even if it’s just 15 min of sitting by each other with the TV off. She suggests playing cards or a game, watching a show, listening to a podcast, and other creative ways that help you connect. This gets harder as kids get older and go to bed later and we are starting to experience that. Here’s what we’ve been doing: we get the younger kids to bed first, then we hang out with the older 2-3 for a bit, do their bedtime routine with them, and then allow them to read in their rooms for another 30 min before lights turn out. If they want to stay upstairs, we explain that mom and dad need our time too. This teaches our kids that our marriage is a priority to us and it’s important for the health of the whole family that we are intentional about it.
- Real Date Night 1-2x/month – This has been a challenging one for us, especially in the earlier parts of marriage. We didn’t always have the time or finances to go on a date night every week or even every other week. Babysitters get expensive and it’s hard leaving your kids especially if you’ve worked all day and haven’t seen them, or if you’re nursing and have to mess with pumping, trusting their schedule to a babysitter who isn’t familiar with them, etc. We honestly didn’t do a great job of date nights earlier in our marriage and only went on them occasionally.Until now! Our oldest finally is to the age where she can babysit. (cue dramatic music). This is a GAME CHANGER. Just this past school year our oldest daughter, who is quite responsible and has always been a huge help with the kids, has been babysitting for the kids while we go on a date night. She loves it because she earns a little money, but we don’t pay her what we’d pay a typical babysitter for our 5 kids and so it’s a win-win for both of us. Date nights have been easier to schedule, even if it’s just out to dinner and then a walk. We are pretty simple with date nights, but we love to enjoy a good meal and talk, whether it’s with movement, a little shopping, etc.
- Weekend Away. Todd and I have often prioritized a weekend away even when our kids were little. We’d ask for some babysitting help from the grandparents so we could stay at a hotel for our anniversary or drive to a nearby city for a couple of days. It didn’t happen every year but we tried to get it in when we could. Again, as the kids have gotten older, this has looked like a weekend just the two of us at the lake or getting away with friends for a weekend sans kids. We don’t have a set goal for this one but I’d say we try to do it at least 2x/year.
- Budgeted Vacation – this can be with or without kids, but I highly recommend budgeting a vacation into your financial plan if possible. I know that there are years where money is tight – we have had plenty of those years and I’m sure they will come again as our businesses fluctuate or when we begin to pay for 5 kids’ tuition. Oftentimes our vacations looked like staying at a family member’s lake home or a family reunion getaway, but the goal is rest, and rest doesn’t always have to be so fancy. Here are some ideas:
- Staycation – we have LOVED a staycation if you are able to be ultra intentional about your commitments during it – say no to the meetings, keep your phone or work computer tucked away, and plan some FUN things to do that are not typical in your normal week’s activities. Go out to eat a few times so you aren’t spending the whole time in the kitchen and enjoy the people you love!
- Shared VRBO – I’m partial to VRBO/Airbnb now that we have one, and these vacation homes can be very affordable especially when they are shared with other family/friends. They can also be the same or cheaper than a hotel room with much greater amenities. They can definitely make a vacation on a budget do-able depending on the location you’re looking at!
- A trip for 3-4 days just 2-4 hours away. We live in a very rural area, but 2-4 hours from us we can be in a city with water parks, amusement parks, zoos, bike trails, and restaurants that we don’t have locally. It might not be the most glamorous vacation we’ve ever been on, but there is a lot of fun to be had by just getting away and doing some fun things together as a family. You can save money with less traveling and fewer days away. Keep meals simple by packing your own snacks, doing a continental breakfast, sharing meals at restaurants, and drinking water! 🙂
Incorporating rhythms of rest into our days/weeks/months has improved our marriage. Todd and I more easily connect which has led to fewer arguments/frustrations. This in turn benefits our children because a joy-filled marriage impacts them as well! Prioritizing rest as a family on the sabbath and other times forces us to really BE WITH our children, laugh and have fun with them, and create memories that they’ll have for a lifetime. I would say this has been our healthiest year of marriage and family life, despite the chaos of 5 kids and running businesses. Though it does take intentionality and planning, it’s worth the effort!