Life is busy. We work hard. We parent hard.
We are told to set goals and go after them.
Don't stop until you reach them.
Go hard or go home!
Just get the job done. Get all the jobs done and THEN you can rest.
All valid. All important parts of life.
But the jobs and the lists are NEVER ending! So when do you rest? When do you have to time to recharge your batteries? And why do we feel guilty for taking care of ourselves?
I would like to take a moment to reflect, now that I am on holidays following an 11-week school term. To those unfamiliar with schooling in Australia - where I live, in Queensland, we typically have four school terms a year of 10 weeks each. This term, which only happens once every few years, we had 11 weeks. It doesn't seem like it would change anything significantly, but somehow it does.
Throughout the school term, we push our little humans to do the best they possibly can while ensuring we maintain their mental health and wellbeing, as well as our own.
We set goals, we work to timelines, we have deadlines.
We go so hard, knowing that quitting is not an option because we have little lives depending on us and a whole lot of teaching to get through.
Parents are pushing hard too. They are trying to find a balance between the battle of homework and extracurricular activities, such as sports, which we know is great for kids, as well as maintaining a household and their sanity!
Everyone is flat out! And at some point - something is going to give. It might be your physical health, your mental health, your patience!
So what do we do to avoid the snap of impatience? The burnout? The breakdown? For both ourselves and our little humans?
It is not about stopping altogether.
This is about taking the time, the important necessary time to replenish your soul. To find something that brings you calm and relaxation so that you are able to continue on your journey with a renewed and invigorated spirit. This is not about stopping and not doing any more. This is the most important job on your list.
Life is all about balance
You don't always need to be getting stuff done all of the time. It is perfectly okay and absolutely necessary to stop and do nothing, to shut down, turn off, chill out and kick back.
Replenish the joy
Taking time for yourself is not selfish. Taking the necessary time to rest, re-energise, replenish is necessary. You can not fill from an empty cup! It is important to find the place inside where the joy is. Do something that makes your soul happy and your cup will overflow onto those who need you and who you spend your time with.
Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit it allows you to serve others from the overflow.
Work AND rest
Rest and work are as important as each other. We need both, yet we should not overlook the importance of either of them. It is important to rest your mind from work and work-related things - whether that is a job you go to or your parenting jobs at home. It is important to rest your mind and calm your heart.
For when we rest our energy is restored.
We teach them by doing it ourselves. We teach them that it is important to stop, chill out and relax. We recognise the signs - emotions, behaviours, fatigue. We turn off the technology, we sit and play quietly - talking optional :D, we read, we nap. We show that it is important to slow down.
Here are some tips to help us and hopefully, in turn, help support our little humans too.
Get rid of the guilt
The ONLY way we will ever maximise our rest time, as well as understand the importance and value of it, is to get rid of the guilt we all have around taking the time we need.
Feeling guilty about taking some 'Me' time - while you are in the middle of taking the time, kind of defeats the purpose! How amazing and rejuvenated have you felt, once you have taken that time that you needed? You are happier, more relaxed, capable of making better decisions, a better and more patient version of yourself, more present.
Don't we want that for ourselves and those we spend our time with?
Increase the Presence
Taking the time you need to rest and recover from your busy schedule allows you to be more present with your family, your friends and your colleagues. If you are less stressed and feeling calmer, then you are able to connect on a deeper and more meaningful level because you are more present. You are more present because you have given yourself permission to do what your body, mind and spirit needed.
Give yourself permission
No one else is going to give you permission to rest. Society and 'other people' expect a lot but it is not about them. You must give yourself permission to rest. You are not responsible for everything that is broken. You do not have to fix everything. You do not have to try and make everyone happy. You do not have to do all the job alone, on your own without help. For now, at this moment, it is important to take time for you. It is time to replenish.
Don't quit when it gets hard
Life gets tough. It just is like that sometimes. Even if you have the best and most positive attitude in the world, sometimes life will catch you off guard. But here is the key: Don't quit. If life is causing you pain and you are already feeling hurt, get a reward from it. In order to do that, you must take some time to slow down, reflect, rest and then step back into it again. We are human. We are not machines! We are designed to slow down, rest and then keep going again. It is a beautiful cycle that we need to be acknowledging far more often than we do.
Recognise when you need it
It is important to be mindful of when you actually need to take the time to rest. Recognising and acknowledging that you need time to step back and rest for a bit, is the BIGGEST and first step! Don't be a martyr! Don't feel like you have to 'soldier on' for the sake of everyone around you. You are only doing them a disservice and you will eventually wear yourself out. Recognise when you need an hour or a day and take it. Invest in rest.
Relax to rest, release and unwind.
Take care of yourself. Go for a walk, eat your favourite food, get a haircut, cry if you need to, read a book, watch a movie, take a day trip, have a nap, have coffee with a friend, go for lunch, do what you need to do to relax.
At the end of the day, you're all you've got. If you want to be the best version of yourself for those you love and spend your time with, then remember to take care of yourself. Let your mind and heart rest for a while. You will catch up, the world will not stop spinning for you but you will catch up.
Until next week...have a relaxing and mindful week.
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