Two weeks ago I was desperately trying to bash out an article. I was determined to finish it in time for the deadline that Friday. I hammered away at it – really pushing, straining, even though my focus had long gone. The words swam all over the screen and eventually, with a sigh, I had to admit defeat. It wasn’t going to come that day. Humbly, I asked the editor for an extension and he gave it to me.

I let the article rest over the weekend – catching up with family and friends, reading, relaxing – and then when Monday came, the article came effortlessly. It was like a flower opening in spring. I was so grateful that I hadn’t forced myself to finish on Friday, but rather allowed it to flourish in its own time. (The article, coincidentally, was about adding playfulness to office spaces for the khuluma magazine – watch out for it in the the December issue.)

There are many other instances where I feel that rest and nourishing your soul enable you to work better. As a writer, I’m reminded of the need to keep my own soul healthy so that I can give more freely when I write. It’s a bit like compost – it breaks down and releases nutrients into the soil that helps plants to grow and thrive. If I’m not taking care of myself (physically, spiritually and mentally), then whatever I produce is going to lack vitality.

So what is it that feeds your soul? For me, it’s reading well-crafted books, connecting heart-to-heart with those who matter to me most and spending time in God’s creation. (A good movie and baking sessions also invigorate me.) Utter bliss is waking up late with nothing on the agenda – just a free day to do whatever takes my fancy.

I think there’s a reason that God gave us a sabbath day to rest. He did it so we could reconnect with him after a busy week, but he also did it for us, to allow us to recondition our souls and soak up some relaxation before the week rolls round again. It’s important to take a break for our own sanity and those around us – and our work will be all the better if we do.

How about you – what feeds your soul? Gardening, photography, surfing? I’d love for you to leave a comment below.