A continual lesson that seems to circle around time after time in my life, is the value of REST. I came across this quote the other day that I made me stop and analyze why I often glorify the exhaustion I feel. It means I'm working passionately and doing what I was created for, right?
“ I’m tired of people romanticizing overexertion. Exhausted is not the new chic, coffee (though a delicious necessity) is not a food group, and running on fumes is not admirable. Why do we hold pedestals for sleepless nights, breakdowns, and inner turmoil? Are those really things to aspire to? Self-care. Balance. The ability to know when your body, mind, and spirit need to take a step back. Those are things we should admire. We have to stop blurring the line between ‘commitment’ and self-endangerment because too many people are burning out before they have a chance to truly shine. ”
Intentional rest is hard to do. Finding what truly recharges you and brings you a peace of mind to think clearly, be present, and go after your dreams, can seem like a puzzle that can't be solved. I have found that I have to schedule in my rest, because otherwise the never-ending tasks will take over my day. It feels more comfortable to have a completed to-do list than to stop 'doing' in the midst of the chaos.
I'm in that small percentage of strange beings who just adore early mornings. I would prefer to get up at 5 AM and dive into my day before sunrise. After waking up early during the week and not getting a sufficient amount of rest each night, I found myself not operating at the best level in my career and in life (surprising, I know). I never allowed myself to catch up on sleep and I ended up reaching for caffeine to fuel my body that was running on empty. A practice I have begun to implement is turning off my alarm one day a week and letting my body take as much sleep as it needs. This keeps my love for early mornings burning bright, and not come to resent them (or cause me to sleep through my alarm) because I'm burnt out.
Some other ways I like to refresh during the week are going for tech-free walks. It's crazy how 'used-to' noise we become. Technology and multi-tasking leaves us with overstimulated brains that crave busyness. Simply going for a stroll outside in the mornings, during your lunch break, or as the sun is setting clears the clutter from your mind and gives you a natural energy boost. Just put the phone away - you'll be fine, I promise.
Reading and journaling help me process through what is going on around me. I always keep a book by my bedside - the latest read is Shauna Niequist's, Bittersweet. It's like that woman follows me around and puts all of the lost observations and ideas floating in my head down on paper. I keep my bible next to it and love starting the day getting to know my creator more intimately. I recently preordered this incredible novel-style bible that releases in November! My journaling typically happens late at night when thoughts are spinning in my head and I the only way to put them to rest is with a pen and notebook.
Friendships are forever important to me and after years of pushing time with the people I love to the bottom of my priority list I realized - life is actually about relationships and relationships take TIME. In Bittersweet, I love the way Shauna describes friendships. "Friendships are like breakfast. You think you are too busy to eat breakfast, but then you find yourself exhausted or cranky halfway through the day, and discover that your attempt to save time totally backfired." Setting up that coffee date despite your busy week is totally worth it.
Finding rest is a lifelong process, and to be honest, I have just embarked on this journey. Find what works for you; what makes you a more-whole, more-loving, more-peaceful person and go about it with grace.
I would love to hear your thoughts on rest and what helps your recharge, leave a comment below!