Do you rest? Really? And I’m not just talking about your six to eight hours of sleep each night, I’m talking about what you do around that. How often do you actually stop, entirely and just let yourself rest?
My answer is not enough, and I’d dare bet that yours is the same.
I’ve written before on this blog about how of all of the numbing and coping mechanisms I had over the years (and believe me, there are plenty!), workaholism is the one I still struggle with most.
But this year the one thing I have been working super hard at is learning how to stop – and how to rest instead. No big deal right? Well let me explain…
For quite a while I’d felt exhausted; I knew that no one – myself included – was getting the best of me because I was constantly working as hard as I possibly could on minimal energy reserves.
More than that though, I’d begun to realise that after years of living this constantly on the go lifestyle my entire body was suffering. I read a book by Dr Libby Weaver called Rushing Women’s Syndrome and realised that I ticked off so many of the symptoms she talked about in women who were “tired but wired” from always being on the go and trying to be all things to all people.
The more I read up on the effects of long term stress the more I came to realise that I checked almost every box on the list for adrenal fatigue. My poor adrenals, they were the ones paying the price for years and years of refusing to stop.
And although are plenty of ways to heal fried adrenals, the most important factor in all of those lies in resting more.
“Easy”, I thought. “I know how to rest. It just means doing less.” In the past there’d never been much time for rest; I’d either be working – if not out of the house or in my home office then on the sofa with a laptop on my knee – or out and about with friends.
A few years back I curbed the social butterfly lifestyle a little, but what I found was that even when I was at home I wouldn’t rest… on a night at home alone with no plans I’d just pick up my laptop and write or plan until bedtime, as I’m sure many people do – especially those who work for themselves.
When I set the intention to rest more I began to put the laptop down more regularly… but then I’d find something else around the house to do, or pick up my phone and wile away the hours pointlessly scrolling through social media.
Let’s be honest, a constant stream of Buzzfeed articles and ridiculous quizzes (anyone want to know what nationality I should be based on my breakfast choices? Anyone? No, me either, and yet…) might not be productive but it also isn’t restful. It would keep my mind going and meant that whatever I was trying to actually focus on would get nowhere near my full attention.
Yet how many of us spend an evening doing that and class it as our rest and our “switch off time”?
This year though my aim is to do precisely the opposite of that. For one night a week I’m staying in but leaving the laptop closed and the phone in another room. And for one more night a week I’m making a point of being in bed by ten – whether with a book or just to go and get an early night.
I know, it sounds simple – but in our constantly on the go society it’s harder than you’d think to get into the habit of!
And I know it sounds totally dull but honestly? It’s probably one of the best things I’ve done in terms of every other part of my life. Because not only do I feel better in and for myself, but I’m finding that when I prioritise my rest, the people I love and the things I do get a better version of me too.
I don’t feel so grumpy about working more than usual when I have to, and I have more energy to do nice things when the opportunity arises. And what’s more, I’m finding myself enjoying stuff more than I have in years…
For starters I’d forgotten how much I love to watch movies (all recommendations welcome!) when I concentrate fully on them, how much Kali loves to play, how much I actually enjoy yoga, and how many beautiful places there are nearby where I can take time out for a long walk with no distractions except for the scenery and my dog.
So my big question to you is this: How do you rest? And more than that, when was the last time you took regular time out to do that?
Because for the good of yourself, and of every part of your life, I’m encouraging you to switch off your mind, take a break for your body, and take some time out to immerse yourself completely in nothing else but whatever it is that helps you to feel rested.
And then tell me how you get on… because this one is definitely still a work in progress for me and I'd love to hear any extra suggestions you have for spending your rest time!
Meanwhile if you're struggling to stop and to rest, and want some help with that then get in touch... I know only too well how much the constant drive to be busy can cover up the things you haven't quite dealt with yet, and I'm all about healing the things that have gone on in the past in order to be able to move forward and embrace the present. Click here to find out more.