Updated: Nov 11, 2021
“Abby, can you be still just for five minutes?” Grandpa didn’t say this in a critical way, he was more amazed by the internal motor that seemed to drive me to always be moving. I was probably seven at the time, and I had been climbing on and off of his lap for about an hour. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to sit still, but my mind is always racing, and usually my hands or feet are as well. That internal motor is exactly why I have to find ways to incorporate rest into my days and weeks, and why I have to model it for my kids too.
Whether you have ADHD, are caring for someone with ADHD, or both, rest is an integral part of self care. Rest from that motor gives us energy, margin and stamina so we can be faithful in the work God has called us to. Rest isn’t just about sleep, and it isn't even about slowing down necessarily. It’s truly about giving your body what it needs to refuel. That might be a walk, hike, bike ride or run, or it might be sitting by the fire reading a book.
God gave us an example for rest in Genesis 2:2-3 and he commanded it in Exodus 20:8-11, but if your family is like mine, it’s a struggle to find time for rest. It really comes down to making a conscious decision to set aside time in our busy schedules for rest and saying no to things that interfere with that time. Like any other habits we want to create, I never recommend an all-or-nothing approach. Start by setting aside 3-4 hours a week and see if you can increase it to 12 hours over a few months.
Okay, so you set aside the time. Now, what do you do? This is not a silly question. Our achievement driven culture is terrible at resting! The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for rest. We have different personalities, different experiences and interests, and we are in different seasons. Even when we identify what we need to refuel, it might change week to week. Here is a two step approach to figuring out what to do in the time you’ve set aside.
Close your eyes and picture yourself in the most restful circumstances you can imagine, doing something that draws you closer to God. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with or are you by yourself?
Try to replicate that circumstance as nearly as you can. Use nature sounds to replicate being on the beach or in the woods if that isn’t possible. An oil diffuser can help produce many different smells. Make a list and keep track of experiences you want to try or you have tried and rejuvenated you.
If I can offer a couple words of warning - 1. Most activities involving a screen are not restful. The blue light combined with the hyperarousal caused by video games and many TV shows and movies have the opposite effect. 2. This type of rest is not meant to replace going to church. I realize that particularly for people with ADHD, church may not be a restful activity, but it is commanded and provides us with the spiritual benefits of biblical teaching and community which are also essential for our spiritual growth.
So, what will you do with your 3-4 hours of rest this week? Share on the Facebook page and use #flourishinghome. Did you see that I’m going to be hosting a self-care workshop? If you’re local, join me on Dec. 3 at 7pm at the Silver Spring Retreat Center in Mechanicsburg. We will sit by the fire with warm drinks and foot soaks and learn how to incorporate regular rhythms of rest into our daily lives. Register Here! If you’re not local or can’t attend, stay tuned for more on a virtual version.
The content found on Flourishing Family Coaching’s website and blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding ADHD, anxiety, depression or any other medical conditions. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.