Many leaders, myself included, aspire to follow the philosophy to “work hard and rest well.” Most of us have no problem following the “word hard” part of that statement. Unfortunately, we often find it much harder to “rest well.”
But the holiday season is when work rhythms typically slow down, giving us an opportunity for rest and restoration. In these seasons it is wise to resist filling that time with work and investing it in some downtime.
Why We Need to Rest Well
It is wise not only because we need rest but also because it reminds us we are created beings. We are dependent—in every way—on God to sustain us. Only He is able to work without stopping. And even though He could do that, He didn’t. God rested on the seventh day of creation, showing us a pattern for living. Jesus also withdrew regularly from the crowds to spend time with His heavenly Father and with His close friends.
Here are a few articles I have found helpful when thinking on the importance of rest from a Christian perspective:
- “A Rhythm of Rest and Refueling” by Carey Nieuwhof
- “Do You Fear Rest?” by Adam Mabry
- “5 Consequences Leaders Face for Not Resting” by Eric Geiger
Secular leaders also recognize our need for rest and heed the dangers of workaholism. Check out these articles to learn more:
- “Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure” by Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan
- “The Case for Vacation: Why Science Says Breaks Are Good for Productivity” by Derek Thompson
- “Why this CEO Pays Employees Up to $750 to Unplug on Vacation” by Robert Glazer
This holiday season, if you find yourself with a lighter load than usual, lean into the rest of the “work hard, rest well” slogan. Put up your “out of office” message—and leave it there. Exercise. Sleep eight hours or more! Linger at the dinner table, enjoying conversation with family and friends. Invest time in connecting with those who matter most to you, and in connecting with the Lord through prayer and reading the Bible. Resting well this holiday season will be for your good and God’s glory.