We, too often, take rest for granted. However, it is actually a gift that is meant to lead us to wellness. Various leaders, from both the medical and the mental health fields, are trying to help us realize the importance that rest plays in our physical, spiritual, and emotional health.
Someone once told me that, in the Jewish mindset, the day begins at sundown not sunrise. We can miss the importance of this, but the reality is that we begin our day with rest so that we can serve the Lord, not with work and then ending with rest to recouperate. What we do flows from rest, not the other way around. This cycle was established on the very first page of the Bible. God said "...and there was evening and morning, the first day." And this cycle of rest is essential for us to opperate at our best so that we can be a blessing to everyone around us. Rest allows our bodies to recouperate on a cellular level, according to the Wellness Blessing blog. It balances hormones, supports the immune system, and serves to reduce inflammation in our bodies. Dr. Rachel Salas, associate professor of Neurology at John's Hopkins Medical said "You can't perform at your best unless you give your body time to rejuvenate during sleep." And what is interesting is that "your best" is multidimensional and it is worship. Dr. Shannon McDonald, FNHA Deputy Chief Medical Officer, put it this way. "Rest is not only physical, but mental, emotional, and spiritual- it's nourishment for both body and soul. Our ancestors and traditional knowledge keepers knew this, and today, science is bearing this out. In the mental health field, Harvard Health Publications (July 2009) said that "once viewed only as symptoms, sleep problems may actually contribute to psychiactric disorder." What that means is that sleep can directly impact our mental health as well. "Neuroimaging and neurochemistry studies suggest that a good night's sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resiliency while chronic sleep disruptions set the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability." If God, our ancestors, and modern scientist are all saying that this is important, perhaps we should sit still and listen.
The good news is that the Good Shepherd delights in leading us beside the still waters and into green pastures. The Lord knows that we need help sometimes to slow down and to be present in our current context. We are, therefore gifted means of partnership to guide us to that place of rest. That can look like psychotherapist and counselors that help us get to the root of why we don't rest well, or it could look like partnering with creation, using certain plants to help our bodies to relax, to sleep, and to sleep well. If you find yourself needing someone to walk with you as the Good Shepherd calls you into rest, allow us, here at Wallace & Wallace Healing Center, to journey with you to your optimal "best."