Most days, it seems like there’s not quite enough time to accomplish everything we need—or want—to do. It might be that we’re juggling kids, a marriage, and a dog; or it might be that we’re trying to balance classes and friendships and work; or that we’re living in the tension between our professional and personal lives. Whatever roles and responsibilities we carry, we have all experienced that nagging feeling that we’re not doing enough.
So it may seem counterintuitive to suggest that what we actually need is more refreshment. It may sound, in fact, like an unattainable luxury: to refresh ourselves when there are things to get done. It’s easier to put our own lives on hold when the kids are screaming, when the deadline is looming, when the bills are overdue.
We can’t put our need for refreshment on pause forever, though many of us feel as if we have to do just that. I’ve struggled with the tension of wanting to renew my soul but feeling guilty about the desire to do “something for myself.” As I’ve learned the hard way, though, things that refresh my body, mind, and soul aren’t luxuries. They are necessary for long-term health and wholeness—just as necessary as food and sleep. Go without refreshment too long, and you’ll find yourself exhausted and fried.
One problem is that we associate refreshment with big trips or expensive experiences—and those seem unattainable. What we need instead are smaller, more consistent ways to refresh in the midst of our everyday lives, and that doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. Here are five ways to refresh when you don’t have time to slow down.1