Updated: Feb 13
I've been saying it for years that I need to slow down a bit and rest more. Practically everyone at some point will struggle with how they manage their need for rest. We make these lighthearted commitments of how we plan to get to bed earlier and take some time off for ourselves, but we end up guilt ridden thinking of all the people in our lives we'll disappoint in the process. We tend to believe the myth that things will not get done without us, which at times can be a bit embellished as we begin to unpack this. Our culture glorifies those who barely get any sleep and work tirelessly at everything. Although this perspective can appeal to the masses, it can have rippling effects throughout our mind and body. Not getting enough rest can impede on the following: poor concentration, weight gain, increased stress levels, memory issues, debilitating health, more irritability, more depressed, and that's barely scratching the surface.
When we neglect the need to slow down and rest, over time we can condition ourselves to refrain from resting even when it's at our disposal. This can look like taking 2 weeks vacation from work, or retiring from your job of 30 years, only to refill your free time with a lot of mundane tasks and errands. We are naturally creatures of habit. If we won't crop the time out of our schedules to slowly wean ourselves away from the busyness of our chaotic rhythms, then don't be surprised if your body and mind begin to feel the impact of all this. You can only go so long drinking several cups of double shots of espresso before it loses its kick to keep you alert.
I know, some may say that, "I really want to rest but I don't have any margin in my life to scale back right now and so many people are depending on me." My response to this would be to continue doing what's necessary, such as going to work, school, taking care of your family, but some of the initiatives that you've committed to are not all necessary and needful for you. This process will consist of having hard conversations with people who you may hold in high regard and love. Don't be surprised if you feel a lot lighter after removing from your plate some of the unneeded responsibilities that have held you hostage from taking some time for yourself. When discussing rest, it's much deeper than just getting a good night's rest for 8 hours; although that is very important, but rest should be a natural rhythm in our lives. We should have a little time to ourselves daily, even if it's just for 15 minutes, and also a couple of hours or even a day off weekly if that's possible. I know for many that may be impossible, but if you can squeeze an off day where you do absolutely nothing at all, it will be of great benefit to you. Remember, doing nothing shouldn't consist of checking work emails on your day off, or feeling the need to give of your time to others at their every request. Saying no sometimes should be a part of your self-care regiment. Lastly, if possible, unplug from it all for at least 1 to 2 weeks every year. This yearly time off will only be of benefit to you if you've followed the other rhythms that were previously mentioned.
Learning to rest is a lot like learning to budget. At first it will feel uncomfortable and awkward, but if you can commit to it, then eventually you'll see the fruits of your commitment. You owe it to yourself to ensure that you're resting mentally, physically, and emotionally from all of the noise that surrounds you on a daily basis. Resting doesn't mean the distractions in life have ceased, but you've resolved to hitting the pause button on everything in your life that's outside of faith and family. I'll be honest with you, this won't be easy but change never is. Make today the day that you decide to partake in learning to rest.
Marcken Volmy © 2021