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When Do You Rest?

Scrabble tiles spelling out the word REST

When do you give yourself the space to rest, to move everything that isn’t essential off your plate, and allow yourself to be?

While this is becoming a more accepted practice the more we learn about how productive we are (or aren’t), honoring what we need and taking it isn’t often at the forefront of our minds. 

When Does Your Energy Ebb During the Year?

Noticing how you work best, how your energy ebbs and flows, and where that fits into the changing seasons is a whole practice that can feel uncomfortable at first, and instead of leaning into the messages your body is telling you, you’re likely to push through and attempt to do it all than to slow down and rest. 

For me, the most intense rest periods come at the Summer into Fall and Winter into Spring transitions. I used to joke that March and August are my least favorite months, no matter the season of my life, and with radical consistency. Before I knew anything about energy, astrological/astronomical events, or Human Design, I couldn’t stand these two months. 

I wouldn’t even consider getting married in August when we were setting a wedding date, even though that month would have been logistically the easiest.

Over the past several years, I’ve learned that March and August are months for me to slow down. They are months where I’m gathering energy and processing information. I tend to get clarity during these months, and then it takes a bit of time to get to a point where I’m ready to put it into action.

So, what does this mean for you? Here are a few things to think about to help you identify whether this happens for you, how long, and some suggestions on what to do with the information.

Reflect on each month in the year:

  • Is there a period where you feel like you’re moving through mud? 
  • Is this consistent, and can you point to several years where this feeling comes up?

Thinking of these times:

  • How do you feel? 
    • Exhausted, 
    • Like I’m getting sick, 
    • Frustrated, 
    • Nothing seems to get done, 
  • What do you usually do when these feelings come up? 
    • Drink more coffee!
    • Try to power through despite not feeling it
    • Take a vacation
  • How long does it seem to last?
    • A month or more
    • Less than a month
    • A week or more
    • A few days

Ideas for Rest

Now that you have an idea of where your energy ebbs rather than flows, you have the power to make some adjustments. We all have the “have to’s” in life, whether it’s project deadlines, meetings, taking care of kids, etc., and it’s within those have-to’s where you can start to notice places to give yourself some space. 

It can look like only having on your calendar the essential tasks and removing everything else that requires more energy than you have. It can also look like choosing a few days to practice “doing nothing.” For instance, let’s say you have some meetings scheduled early in a week, but none at the end of the week, and you’re currently caught up enough at work that you can give yourself the gift of a mental health day or two. Take it! And then, do not schedule anything. 

I mean it. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Wake up in the morning on those days and ask yourself what do you feel like doing that day? Binging a tv show, or watching Marvel movies all day are acceptable answers. As well as going for a walk, a hike, a bike ride, or taking an exercise class in the middle of the day. Reading, drawing, coloring, lego building…it doesn’t matter what it is, just that you do what feels right instead of what you think you should do. 

Look, I’m not saying this is easy. I practiced the “do nothing” myself for 3 days in August. When I clear my schedule, I immediately jump into “must use the time to write, or now that I don’t have any meetings, I can spend a lot of time on the nuts and bolts of my business.” This was a time when I felt like I was forcing myself to rest. 

Here’s what I did:

  • I wasn’t allowed to pick up a book to read if I felt I should. I could only pick it up if I were choosing to read it. 
  • I removed myself from situations where I would feel like I should do something. I walked past the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes and drove to the foothills to hike. The only things I allowed myself to take were my journal, water, and snacks. There wasn’t going to be a stop at the coffee shop on the way home to write activity like I sometimes do.
  • I skipped out on writing a newsletter.
  • I went to the salt cave, where I could sit for 50 minutes and do nothing.
  • I went to the movies by myself (Barbie, for the second time, lol)

Here’s how it went:

  • It was immensely frustrating on the first day. A conversation between me and my husband went like this, “What are you doing today?” “Well, I thought I’d go to the salt cave and then to a coffee shop to write.” “I thought you were resting.” “Oh, right, damn”. Ok, salt cave, and then I have no idea.” “Sounds better.”
  • By the third day, I felt more relaxed and in the flow of going with whatever came along. It was raining, so I couldn’t do anything outside, and I wondered what would feel like the most luxurious waste of time. Going to the movies and watching Barbie for the second time, it was. 

Now, here’s the thing about re-entry after practicing something like this. It can be bumpy. If you’re anything like me, it can feel like a laundry list of to-dos stacked up within days, and if only you’d been more productive instead of this “rest’ thing, it wouldn’t feel so daunting! Yes, and, when you look at the list, you may notice that not everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW. Pay attention to what needs your attention at that present moment. You may be surprised at what gets moved to another day or even eliminated.

 

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

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