Permission to Rest

Whenever I see an article about burnout, I scroll right past it. I don’t want to read it. I definitely didn’t read that article about languishing that was making the rounds last year.

Don’t even get me started on productivity!

Also, I don’t nap. Or, if I do, it is very rare, and usually connected to a period of my life that is emotionally draining. I wake up, recharged and renewed and ask myself, why don’t I nap more? And then I don’t nap again for several years.

Rest is a complicated topic, I’ve noticed. We either don’t get enough of it, or we feel guilty if we do.

If you’re somewhere in between, I salute you.

These past few years have been incredibly tough for so many reasons (pick your favorite). I was already feeling lost after a challenging job transition, and then, well, you know what happened globally (um, everything).

At the time, I was seeking input from all kinds of sources. Distracting myself with courses and communities, connecting with all kinds of new people. After a few different 1-on-1 sessions with various folks, the message was clear: I needed to rest.

So what did I do with that information? I completely ignored that guidance and carried on as though rest wasn’t remotely the thing that I needed!

Until I couldn’t carry on anymore.

I surrendered to rest, wholeheartedly, once I got past the initial resistance. For several months, I stopped working out, I slept in (as much as I could with a small child), and I put the brakes on everything and turned off all the noise. The pressure was officially off.

I can’t even say that it was glorious. I am sure some parts of it were. It was just my new normal, my new baseline, my new way of operating, for as long as I needed it to be.

Eventually, I was ready to re-emerge, much like that feeling after a rare nap.

What I’ve learned since then is to meet myself where I am, without judgment, as hard as that might be sometimes. I recognize and embrace shifting energy levels, the things I can control (and the things I can’t), and the importance of being gentle with myself.

I understand that we’re all coming from different places, and in different life situations, but if you’ve been getting the message to rest, and ignoring it, or not even seeing it as a possibility (I get it, you’re tired) — I wanted to give you permission and even a few ideas for what rest might look like.

Pick one, or several, that work for you… or at least think about it :)

  • Close your eyes, simple as that, for a few minutes or a few hours
  • Put on some peaceful music
  • Find a place to sit outside and watch the world go by
  • Put down your phone
  • Say no
  • Dim your lights
  • Make a change to the place you sleep like decluttering or rearranging
  • Read a book that is made out of paper
  • Make a self-care appointment for yourself (massage, acupuncture, etc)
  • Journal or draw your thoughts
  • Give yourself a hug
  • Curl up in a fuzzy blanket
  • Meet yourself where you are

May you find a moment of rest this week 😴

This article was originally published in my weekly(ish) newsletter in July 2021. If you’d like to subscribe, you can do so here: newsletter.rozduffy.com

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design strategist + researcher, coach, fun. she/her.

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