Today marks the beginning of my Thanksgiving break. I have no work or school for over a week, and I don’t have any major projects for work or school that I need to work on either, so I’m totally free.

I wanted to spend this time intentionally. I know how easy it would be for me to look back at the end of the break and realize I had done nothing besides nap, go on social media, and watch YouTube videos. I don’t want that.

This got me thinking about rest and vacation. There are some things in my life which are fake rest (not to be confused with fake news). These are the things that trick me into thinking I’m “taking a break” but aren’t restorative at all. These are things like scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, eating junk food, or staying up late. In the moment, I think that I’m taking a break or resting, or whatever. But I don’t feel any better afterwards. Usually, I feel worse.

These things aren’t always bad, it’s just that, if I’m seeking to feel restored or rested, these things aren’t going to do it for me.

For this long break, I am planning to do some non-rest things, like tackle some deep cleaning and organizing projects, make freezer meals, and begin Christmas shopping. But I also am trying to make a conscious effort to plan some restorative things. Real rest, not fake rest.

To start, I made a list of the things I wanted to get done. I then thought about some things that give me real rest, and added those to my to-do list as well. Here are some “real rest” ideas that I love:

  • Read a book (fiction, nonfiction, whatever)
  • Practice piano or guitar
  • Do hand lettering
  • Take a bubble bath, do a face mask, etc.
  • Talk to/ spend time with people I love
  • Cook a new recipe
  • Write, Journal, or Blog
  • Listen to music or podcasts

Of course, everyone is going to have different things that are real rest. I didn’t include my devotional, eating well, or working out in this list, but these are all things that I aim to do this week also. I just kind of consider them my baseline of things I need to do to feel my best.

Hopefully, with these things on my to-do list along with my projects and things, I can come out of this break feeling productive, restored, and ready to get back to work and school.

What things are real rest for you?



Five Ways to Slow Down


In today’s fast-paced society, it’s easy to let ourselves go on autopilot and never allow time to savor the moment.

After all, if you’re rushing from one thing to the next with no time in between and barely enough time to scarf down some lunch, it’s nearly impossible to savor anything.

The ability to actually be in the moment is much more important than you might realize. Getting into the habit of using mindfulness helps reduce anxiety, improve overall health, decrease stress, and improve happiness.

My clients with anxiety find this to be very helpful. You can get into full-blown mindfulness meditation (which many people love) but I would argue that even being more intentional and mindful in small moments throughout the day has big payoffs. Here are 5 ways to slow down and really savor the moment:


Six Weeks of Wellness- Week 6- Social Wellness

Social Media

What is the one thing that has the power to consume your time, distract you from your work, make you feel both lonely and connected, increase anxiety, and mess up your sleep?

Social media.

Sure, it can help us keep in touch, but it can also help us feel terrible. Countless studies have shown that social media has some pretty nasty effects on people.

That constant checking? It can cause anxiety. It also decreases your ability to concentrate long-term, because your brain gets used to switching back and forth between tasks so quickly.

Also, social media has been found to make people feel lonelier. One thing we humans are good at is comparing ourselves to others, and social media is a great place to do that and wreck your mental health.

Having Facebook friends you rarely talk to or just giving an occasional “like” is far from “connectedness.” Instead of making our friendships deeper, social media helps to make them wider, which isn’t healthy from a social wellness point of view. It’s better to have rich relationships than to have many acquaintances, and social media can easily steer us away from this.

On top of all that, the actual content of social media can be pretty toxic. Sexual photos, politically charged anger, horrendous footage of abuse, and fake news can crowd out the social aspect of social media altogether.

So what’s a person to do?

Well, you could quit social media altogether, like this talk by Cal Newport suggests. I don’t think it’s a bad idea.

You could also find some ways to use social media more intentionally. By this, I mean avoiding aimlessly scrolling or falling down the rabbit hole until you’re on your cousin’s friend’s ex’s mom’s page. I mean not wasting time and finding ways to make sure you feel happier after using social media, not like you just lost an hour of your life.

Some ideas to use social media more intentionally: