Ways to Rest When You Have No Time

For those days when I'm exhausted but have a million and one things to do and I'm about to lose it. | Great easy ideas on ways to rest when you have no time!

Our bodies aren’t made to do it all. (In fact, last week we talked about The Gift of Rest.) Going continually and doing more than we can will wear on us after a while. Living in exhaustion for too long often leads to weakened immune systems, crankiness, and an unenjoyable life. For a period of time, little or no rest is okay. If it continues long term, something might need to change.

Here are some Ways to Rest When You Have No Time:


Make a list of everything that’s cluttering up your brain. Go over all of those things that you have to get done. What truly has to be done now and what can be done later? Go beyond that. Now see what you can completely eliminate.

Set a Timer and Work.

If rest is as hard for you as it is me, tell yourself to do as much as you can in 15 or 30 minutes and then be done. I know I’m going to work my hardest for that x amount of time. It takes away that feeling that I’m not doing anything. I can go into rest feeling that something has been accomplished. You can also choose to rest first and set the timer and work second. Either way, you know that you will be productive at some point.


Don’t worry about what needs to be done. Don’t let your mind wander to “to-do” lists. Pray, read, enjoy rubbing your child’s back, close your eyes and nap, take a long shower.

Set a Timer and Rest.

If the thought of rest really stresses you out, set a timer. Tell yourself you are going to give your body a break for 10 minutes. The kids have just gone to bed after a difficult day, the house is destroyed, work needs to be done, and you feel overwhelmed. Sometimes 5 or 10 minutes might be all you have or need. A quick shower, cup of tea, chapter of a book, short workout, reading a Psalm or a cat nap might be all I need to get me through the rest of the essentials.

Make Productivity More Enjoyable.

See if you can combine rest and work. Turn on your favorite CD, Spotify playlist, or podcast while you clean. Call your mom or best friend or listen to audio books while you fold laundry or do dishes. When you are cooking, set up a station for your kids and have them help. Make your favorite beverage to sip on during the day. Have a square of dark chocolate from your secret stash when the kids aren’t looking. Combine exercise with pushing the little ones in a double stroller to get you all out of the house for even an hour. Just breaking up your day can make a big difference.

How do you keep from losing it on those long days after a night of no sleep? What are the best ways to find rest when you have no time?

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30 thoughts on “Ways to Rest When You Have No Time

  1. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

    This is great advice! One thing I find very restful is coloring a picture with crayons, so I will sometimes ask my son to let me color a page of one of his coloring books with his crayons. He’ll usually do one too, so then we are spending time together, and it doesn’t take very long to feel soothed. Now that I have another baby, I’ve found that I can even do this while nursing–I’m ambidextrous!

  2. Abi Craig

    Thanks for the good reminders. I have found all of these beneficial at one time or another. Setting the timer works well for me. (Visiting from Thriving Thursday.)

  3. Elizabeth

    You know, there is a lot of truth to this. Often I think it is my brain that doesn’t allow me to rest. Even when I am doing something, my brain is elsewhere, ticking off the many things I “should” be doing. I love the timer idea, and the enjoyment. I need to work on being mindful and in the present, enjoying what I have right now and giving myself credit for the good things I do. Thanks!

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Oh my goodness, I agree! My brain doesn’t allow me to rest early! It just wants to go go go and keeps coming up with more things I need to put on my list. The timer works really well for me for resting and for working. It’s always good to know there’s an end in sight.

  4. Ai

    I needed this! We started back up with homeschooling, and I’m exhausted and running on empty. I know I need to be better with getting enough rest. I always think I can get through it with little sleep, but the negative effects are not seen in incomplete to-do lists but in a cranky mom. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Why has it been so busy??? It’s crazy. I keep hoping it will slow down, but I think I need to sit down and prioritize and schedule better to I can make time for the things I want to. I get cranky when I don’t sleep too and it’s miserable for everyone. 🙂

  5. Kori

    I really needed this reminder! I try to nap or at least rest when my youngest is napping but more often than not, I’m still busy doing something.

    Here via the Weekend Wind-Down linky

  6. Audrey

    Every day last week I said I was going to rest for a little bit while my son was at school. Don’t ask what I did instead, because not much of it was so important that it couldn’t wait 30 minutes.

    I will be setting the timer and taking a little rest this week, I promise you.

  7. Izzie Anderton

    This is all great advice. Thanks for sharing.
    One tip I have is to set a timer for an hour and see how much you can achieve in that time slot. Promise yourself that after that time you are going to take a break no matter what! Usually works well for me.

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Yes! I love doing that too. Just do as much as you can for an hour or whatever and then call it good for the moment. Other it can be so easy to get overwhelmed and not even want to start.

  8. Diana

    I agree, when you are resting you HAVE to turn your brain off. It can be really difficult sometimes, but just taking some deep breaths and concentrate on thinking about nothing. When my mind is running I just try to count. As thoughts creep in, I keep pushing them out and keep concentrating on seeing the numbers in my mind as I count. It does seem to help.

  9. Angi @ SchneiderPeeps

    I’m trying to set aside a few minutes each afternoon/evening to go outside, sit in our swing and rest. It’s amazing how much more focused I can be when I know that there will be a time when I can just sit for a few minutes. Thanks for sharing with us at Simple Lives Thursday – can’t wait to see what you share with us this week.

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Awww! Thanks Carrie! I feel like I’m needing a re-read of the post today, ha ha. We had a fun and busy weekend but now I just want a long nap. 🙂 I looks like you guys have had a busy while too. I keep thinking it will slow down but I’m thinking that might be a dream.

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