Tips for a Restful Sabbath

We all need rest from the hard work we do every day. We need to catch our breath every once in a while–a chance to drop our guard, to not be needed, and to allow ourselves to be human and receive what we need. Even for just a few moments of the day.

Nine years ago I was challenged to take more than a few minutes. For the sake of my sanity and my ministry, I set aside a whole day each week, hoping to find rest and the strength to jump back into another week with renewed energy. Many faith-filled people refer to this day as Sabbath.

Most weeks I failed. Not because I didn’t take the day, but because many of the activities I thought would recharge me, didn’t. Some actually sapped energy away and made me feel less rested than when the “day of rest” had begun. But over the years of trial and error, little by little I discovered activities that replenished my energy, that brought glimpses of emotional healing to my heart, that allowed me to slow down, that made me feel like a human again after a whole week of working like a machine.

If you, too, are failing to find rest on your day of rest, perhaps you can find some new ideas here. I’d suggest trying a variety, mixing it up every week until you discover what kinds of activities bring restoration in the midst of your chaotic week. Keep in mind, too, that your personality, context, and resources definitely play a role in determining what is helpful and what is possible. I have had to adjust what Sabbath looks like since getting married, and I definitely would need to adjust again if I had kids.

What Gave Rest:


  • Deep conversation with an long-time friend
  • Do something creative (painting, photography, making a collage) while having a conversation with the Creator God
  • Read a chapter or two of a book unrelated to ministry
  • Pick up a beloved activity from childhood again (for me it was an instrument I used to play)


  • Take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood, talking with Jesus
  • Work out
  • Ride a bike for a few miles
  • Cook a meal from scratch
  • An actual nap


  • Process my need for deep inner healing
  • Therapy session
  • Read blogs of people struggling with what I’m struggling with, pray through it
  • Process life while driving alone down a long, straight highway


  • Sing worship songs to God
  • Journal how God was at work in my day/week/month
  • Confess things you screwed up this week, ask for help to reconcile anything that needs reconciliation
  • Read a whole book of the Bible (a relatively short one) in one sitting
  • Meditate for a while on one verse/paragraph
  • Read a chapter of a non-fiction book about connecting to God, do the application it suggests

Didn’t Give Me Rest:

  • Shopping
  • TV or movies
  • Cleaning or laundry
  • Errands
  • Social media
  • Long or strenuous hikes
  • Road trips with friends/family

May you find wholistic restoration on your Sabbath day. Even if it comes about through frustrating trial and error, it is worth it to spend years searching for what will eventually replenish your heart, soul, body each week. You are worth it.


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