Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28
What is Holy Leisure?
I first heard about holy leisure when I started discipleship in college. Courtney, my discipler was teaching me about six-step planning, and she reminded me to take time for holy leisure. She advised me to save time to do something restful and life-giving as I planned my schedule for each week. We’re often told that self-care is very important, and holy leisure can be likened to self-care from a faith-based perspective.
Holy leisure is a form of rest or light recreation that glorifies God. Our Heavenly Father didn’t create us to be workhorses. While work is part of his plan for creation and his will for our lives, he also wants us to rest. Specifically, he wants us to rest well. Our leisure time should be restorative so that we can slow down to enjoy the life that God blesses us with. When we rest well, we can give from a full cup when we go back to our work, service, or ministries.
What we do during our holy leisure time matters. We should engage our bodies, minds, and souls in life-giving things. Holy leisure is NOT endlessly scrolling on social media, binge-watching a Netflix show, constantly sleeping, or eating because you’re bored. A great holy leisure activity should find a balance of engaging and relaxing your body, mind, and soul. Picture your activity in light of the transcendentals. If it’s authentically true, good, and/or beautiful, then it’s something worth doing.
I wasn’t very good at doing holy leisure in college, but now I’m finding ways to incorporate it into my week. Here are just a few of my favorite holy leisure activities:
1 Reading or listening to a Catholic or Christian book
Curl up on a comfy couch with some coffee or tea and spend an afternoon reading or listening to an audio book. You can exchange favorite books with a friend, or start a little book club. Some of my favorite Catholic books are Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Dr. Edward Sri, and Called by Kevin Cotter, and I’m currently reading Meditations with St. Teresa of Avila by Megan Don.
2 Taking a short nap
A FOCUS missionary that I knew always said that taking a nap is an act of trust in God, which means that you trust that God will help you to get your work done and rest. Get cozy in bed for 30 minutes to an hour for some rejuvenating rest.
3 Making a craft/being creative
Getting artsy is good way to relax and have fun, and when you’re done, you have something special to keep or to give as a gift. There are endless ways to be creative, like painting along with Bob Ross, crocheting or knitting, or even decorating your planner with stickers. God is the divine artist, so he delights when we create beautiful works of art of our own.
4 Going on a run, exercising, or physical activity
Exercise is a great way to take care of our bodies. As long as you don’t push yourself too much, it can be refreshing and a good way to burn off energy. Go for a walk or run around the block, go to a class or do an at-home workout, or put on some music and dance!
5 Watch a movie or an episode of a show with a friend
Watching one episode at a time with a few friends makes binge-watching less likely to happen. Find a show or a movie that’s life-giving and inspiring to enjoy at the end of a long day.
6 Pamper yourself
Spend an evening painting your nails, taking a bubble bath, or doing a face mask. These restorative and relaxing self-care tactics are great ways to take care of the body that God gave you.
7 Listen to a Catholic podcast or conference talk
It’s easy to pop on a podcast while you’re driving to work or cleaning, but you can also have a seat and just soak in the conversation. A few of my favorite Catholic podcasts are The Crunch, Clerically Speaking, and Fr. Mike Schmitz.
8 Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea
Having a warm beverage is always fun activity to do with a friend or by yourself. It’s an easy way to take a minute to yourself and step away from your work. You can easily brew a cup of coffee or tea at home, or you could visit a local coffee shop to support a small business.
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What are your favorite holy leisure activities? Which ones are you looking forward to trying? Tips!! Set aside time for it, do something that lifts you up and helps you think of God
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