Until further notice, I am living with a purposeful intention to rest, restore, and recover. I am slowing down, finding stillness, embracing slow, mindful movement, and generally doing a whole lot less. Weight lifting has been replaced by yoga, running with walking, and intermittent cardio sessions with meditation breaks. I keep my to-do list to fewer than 3 items, read only one book at a time, and nap when I’m tired. I’ve been listening to my hunger, relaxing into a softer body, and practicing self-compassion…
I’ve also been crawling out of my skin, crying, coping through mild (and major) freak outs, and living in the not-so-pretty reality of personal growth. If you’re anything like me (ambitious, stubborn, controlled, hard on herself, productive, willing to train through the pain, etc.) than you will understand how hard and frustrating it can be to rest.
The thing is, I went too hard, for too long. Life fell completely out of balance as I built up way too much stress, anxiety, pressure, and need for control. My physical, mental, and spiritual health and well-being were crying out desperately, and there was just no further ignoring my need for a timeout.
On the bright side, I have a long standing, and mandatory, pact with myself to embrace challenges as opportunities to ‘level up’ in life, and although it hasn’t exactly been pretty (growth never is…) I have been learning a lot about myself in my resistance to rest.
Why is it so hard to rest?
“I haven’t earned it.” You do not need to justify your rest, nor should you ever feel guilty about taking it. Rest is essential, not earned. Despite expectations from yourself and others, regardless of how much you’ve worked or worked out, you deserve a break now and then. Your physical health depends on rest to recover, repair and build muscle, replenish energy stores, and prevent overuse injury and both mental and physical burnout. Also, remember that you do not need to meet a workout quota for the week to have a rest day, you don’t need to run a half marathon in the morning to watch Netflix for an afternoon.
Try this: If you’re feeling tired, don’t exercise.
“I’m too busy.” There is no need, or advantage, to living in a state of overwhelm. Prioritizing time for adequate rest, and quality sleep is essential for mental well-being and productivity. Consider cleaning out your schedule and sorting the important tasks from the less important tasks, ridding any time-suckers (social media, email, etc.), and delegating some things (others are capable and willing to help) to make time for restful self-care. Creating space for rest means ensures that you can tackle those important tasks and goals with more energy, clearer focus, better results, and hopefully a little more mental bliss as well.
Try this: Prioritize your rest, schedule time for you.
“I should hustle.” There is so much pressure put on us to be in a constant state of striving, doing, and producing. Rather than giving in to the hustle, embrace the idea of alignment. Do less – but better, make goals that fulfill all aspects of your life, do what gives you purpose. Create quality, rather than quantity, and choose to do because it’s the doing, not the achieving, that gives you purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.
Try this: Do something that produces no results, just for the sake of doing it.
“If I’m not doing, who am I?” A favorite nugget of truth from Kurt Vonnegut is, “I am a human being, not a human doing.” You are not defined or measured by what you do, nor do those things make you more or less of an individual on this planet. Take time to get to know yourself beyond your career, your hobbies, your physique… explore what your true passions are, your fears, what brings you pure joy and utmost fulfillment. When you embrace who you are without an adopted identity, you are free from the obligation to ‘be something’ and free to just… be. With unchained self-acceptance, you create a flow of creativity, contentment, and passion and open the door to possibility.
Try this: Do a guided meditation to help you get within. (This app is my favorite!)
For more inspiration on being less resistant to rest, get this week’s Self-Coaching Journaling Prompts.
How do you recognize that you are in need of rest?
What are the signs that your body and mind need a break?
Work hard, rest hard!
Looking for some journaling inspiration? Ready to create a fulfilling and mindful practice?
Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for the March Mindful Journaling Project.
Daily 5 minute prompts to inspire you to journal your way to self-acceptance!