Our world is busy. It is loud, bright, demanding. Our world requires so much out of us — working, parenting, volunteering, socializing. We spend most of our time giving to the world, taking little for ourselves.
It is exhausting. Sometimes life feels like pushing a boulder up a snow-covered mountain, with the wind and snow bearing down. But what happens when we cannot push anymore? When we cannot take another step? We are tired, our energy depleted and our resources dry.
Rest is an essential part of moving forward, of living. Getting just a little bit further up the mountain. When our bodies are activated by stress, they are unable to rest and repair, to perform necessary maintenance. When stress builds up, we find ourselves irritable, anxious, depressed and angry. We may even find ourselves suffering from migraines, chronic pain, fatigue and illness.
When finding rest, it's important we seek rest that replenishes us. Start by trying some of these things:
Give yourself permission. Allow yourself to rest. Acknowledge that rest is a crucial part of self-care and saying "yes" to yourself is just as important as saying "yes" to others. Even if your to-do list is never-ending, giving yourself permission to rest is the compassion you need to continue.
Check your thinking. If you tend to feel guilty for resting, change your thoughts. It is impossible to truly rest if your inner voice is anxious of the next step. "I can’t stop until I finish xyz." "If I rest now, it’ll be worse later." Your body cannot rest if your mind is not at ease. Try replacing those thoughts with, "I need this," "I owe it to my loved ones to honor my needs" or "It’s okay to take care of myself."
Know the difference. Not all rest is created equal. Consider the difference in intentional stillness versus mindlessness. Mindlessly binging social media and TV has its place, but it lacks the depth to facilitate rest consistently. Stillness is most useful when it is intentional. A good way to know if an activity is truly restful is noticing how you feel after. Do you feel replenished after a day on the couch? Or maybe you feel more energized after a great workout, walk or lunch with friends? How about painting, journaling or yoga? Anything can be rest as long as you feel rested afterwards
Make it a priority. Schedule time for yourself. Plan your work around your rest. Not an option? Get creative. Listen to your favorite book on the way to work. Take a walk on your lunch break. Be devoted to work, play and pause in equal parts. Cultivate a circle of loved ones who challenge and empower you to rest.
As Brene Brown put it, "It takes courage to say 'yes' to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol."
Be brave. Give yourself the rest you deserve.
This article was written by Jasmine Bishop, LPC, EMDR II, DCC, and Kami Ball Tran, LPC-S, RPT-S, NCC, DCC, of The Healing Place, a provider of individual therapy to children, teens and adults. The Healing Place is currently accepting new clients and is available for telehealth appointments. Call 501.209.3340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment today.