You don’t have infinite energy. But it is tempting to pretend like you do.
Especially during the hecticness of the holidays, with so much going on, so much to do, and cultural and family expectations to live up to, it is tempting to pretend that we can do it all. We make long to-do lists. We consume large amounts of caffeine and sugar to keep us working. And then we beat ourselves up when we aren’t able to check everything off the list.
It is vital to your health, and your communication, to take time to rest. I know this is hard to do this time of year, and that is precisely why it is so important to do this at this time of year. When we rest we are able to recharge. When we rest we are able to process all that we’ve done. When we rest we have more energy to tackle the large to-do list.
So how can you tell that you’re over extended and need some rest?
For some people a warning sign is when their inner critic starts acting up. When we’re tired and run down our inner critic is louder and harsher. For others, it is might be constant lethargy. Nothing seems exciting, just another thing “to-do.” It takes more and more energy just to get out of bed. And for still others, it is less patience and more judgment of others. Other people are dropping the ball, getting in your way, and being general nuisances.
What is your tell-tale sign that you are in need of rest? Do you know?
How do the friends, co-workers, and family members tell you that you seem overworked? Do they? How could you receive their feedback with less defensiveness?
And then what helps you actually rest?
For some it’s reading and taking a bubble bath. For others it’s spending time in nature, whether taking a walk in the local park or taking a drive to the beach. For others it is watching movies. For others it is working on crafts.
What activities give you rest?
Rest is different from sleep. While sleep is essential to being well rested, rest involves so much more than just sleep. Rest involves play, relaxation, fun, peace and equanimity. What kinds of activities give you those feelings?
Finally, what do you do to prioritize rest?
Rest is not a one-time thing. Rest is a regular practice. If we view rest as something we do only when we’re burned out, then we’re set for a cycle of burn out. Rest needs to be integrated into your life.
For some people they schedule a day, or at least an afternoon, every week to rest. Others look at the yearly calendar and note when throughout the year they need to get away, or reduce their workload, to recuperate after a stressful period. And still others prefer a more spontaneous way of engaging in rest, but they still keep a watch on when they need that rest.
Rest is not laziness. Rest is essential for a healthy mental and emotional life. Rest is essential for consistent productivity. Rest is essential to joy and living through life rather than working through life.