The cold winter months make our bodies naturally want to slow down, but how to rest when the pace of our lives doesn’t really let up can be a challenge.
What does hibernation mean for a human? How can we rest and look after ourselves in sustainable, nurturing ways?
How to Rest: Identify Your ExhaustionFor many, the pace of life has increased in hecticness since the start of the pandemic. There are now more people attempting to work fulltime from home, children to homeschool, masks to wear, necessary supplies to stay stocked up on, financial pressure, health concerns, and a million other stressors and worries.
When we talk about “rest,” it’s usually assumed that we need sleep or the ability to do nothing for awhile.
That’s certainly an option and may be exactly what you need, but sleep deprivation is far from the only kind of exhaustion there is.
Due to the hectic nature of life right now for many people, your specific type of exhaustion may not be sleep-related. Determining how to rest will depend on where you’re feeling burnout the most.
For instance, if you are having trouble focusing or experiencing brain fog and forgetfulness, you probably need mental rest.
If you find yourself short tempered and snappish, you likely need rest from emotional labor or care-giving duties.
Take some time to consider where your points of burnout are to determine how to rest in a way that will best serve you.
How to Rest: Give Yourself Permission
Once you’ve identified your area of burnout and how to rest in a way that will be restorative and energizing for you, give yourself permission to take that rest.
Your anxious mind will likely give you lots of reasons and excuses for why you can’t--it would be selfish, the kids need you too much, no one else knows what to do to keep the household running, all your projects at work will collapse if you're not there--and realize that you can actually take a step back.
You may have some really tricky circumstances at the moment that makes this difficult, but do your best to find a way to give yourself the rest you need. Take the day off, let your partner take the kids, order in dinner (and dessert!), take a bubble bath with a book alone for an hour, whatever you’ve got to do.
How to Rest: Simple EnjoymentWhen we are young, enjoyment is simple. We know the things we like and we spend all of our free time seeking them out and relishing in them.
As we grow up, enjoyment is not so simple. Responsibilities, social programming, stress, exhaustion, relationship dynamics and a myriad of other factors start clogging our vision of what kinds of activities make us happy.
Think about the things you enjoyed doing the most when you were 8-10 years old. What were they? Building Legos? Climbing trees? Writing stories? Building models? That simple enjoyment is still available to you. Learn how to rest your over-stimulated adult self by finding your way back to them.
How to Rest: Create an Environment for YouMany of us live in spaces that are filled with emotional clogs. Piles of mail or clothes we feel guilty about, a gift from a person we have an emotionally tumultuous past with, things that are broken and we haven’t fixed, the list goes on.
All of these motional clogs create a cumulative emotional affect on us in the spaces we should be feeling the most relaxed and at peace--our homes.
What types of things are you able to remove from your space to make it less of a mental and emotional burden to you? What spaces in your home can you personalize or beautify in simple ways that will improve your day?
Maybe it’s putting a plant on your desk, or hanging an art piece you really like, or upgrading your cookware, or wardrobe, or furniture set.
Whatever it is, know that it is worth the energy to create a home environment that will energize you and help you learn how to rest.