Doing nothing is good

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As the summer holidays continue, I’m contemplating the best way to help my children give me a few minutes off! I love spending time with them, but sometimes my head just needs to have a moment free from their constant … ahem … chatter!

Recently I’ve been taking a 15-minute break on my own after lunch. I make a cup of nice coffee, take my knitting and a podcast into my room and shut the door. I let the children know I’m having my 15 minutes of “Me Time”. I ask them not to come in unless it’s truly urgent and that if they interrupt me, the 15 minutes starts again!*

In the beginning, I felt a little mean because they made a fuss and interrupted and I had to restart the timer.

Now, a few weeks later, they leave me to it, and I’m gradually extending the time, allowing myself to completely “cool off” and I come down to them in a calm and restored state!

Surprise #1
I’m surprised at how quickly my children have accepted it and got on with playing together with me. They really don’t need entertaining all day, and a 15-minute break of free play (no screens!) is actually pretty easy for them to fill.

Surprise #2
More surprising was how quickly my head and heart recalibrated with a short period of silence/podcast. A moment devoted to me, to calm, relax and do something creative resets for the rest of the day!

Now if we go out for the day, I do this when we get in, giving myself time to be calm and relaxed before heading into the ‘tunnel’ of making dinner and doing bedtime.

It’s just like a mini-Sabbath, a short rest which mimics the weekly day of rest. The impact can be felt in our minds, bodies and spirits. We know this is true, yet we wrestle with the idea of rest, as if to stop is to give up.

On the contrary, to rest is to step up – it is to give our mind, body and soul the space it needs to be restored. And we return afterwards with more than we had before.

I love Sabbath and have written lots about our weekly day of rest. But right now I’m working on developing mini-Sabbaths in each day.

How about you? Is this something you could benefit from?

* Note: My children are 9 and 11, and so easily able to safely entertain themselves for 15 minutes! However, I have friends who instigated a ‘reading hour’ after lunch when their children were much younger.

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