Deep rest restores your body, mind, and heart so that you can continue to bring your best to your people and the world.
Let me give you an example:
November was an epic month for my introverted self. I taught a 19.5 hour module of teacher training one weekend. Then I co-led a weekend long retreat which included some really hard moments of holding space (and some beautiful ones). Finally, the next weekend we packed up the kids and took an international trip for the week of Thanksgiving.
I am super grateful that I got to do all of those things. I wouldn't trade a single one of them. But by the time I got myself and my family back into the swing of things during the week after Thanksgiving, I was completely drained.
I knew I needed to rest and rest like I meant it. So, despite the fact that I had plenty to do, and that it felt really uncomfortable NOT doing it, I planted myself on the couch for almost the entire following weekend.
I watched random TV shows, I watched 3 or 4 movies with my children and my husband as they came through and I did some quiet sitting. It was heaven. I don't think I've had a weekend like that since before my daughter was born nine years ago.
The wild thing is, we actually got some big things done that weekend too. In between bouts on the couch, I took my kids to a playdate, I taught a yoga class, we moved several loads of boxes back into the basement and we even decorated the Christmas tree.
I didn't think I had the energy for any of those things but because I gave myself permission to completely blob out for the remaining hours of the weekend, I had plenty of energy when I needed it.
That experience reminds me that I often forget this simple truth:
true REST is what restores you.
it gives you true ENERGY for your life.
How much simpler could it be? If you feel tired....REST! You'll feel better!
Unfortunately, so many of us push rest to the end of the priority list. Many of us prescribe to the "I'll rest when I'm dead" plan. We often believe that if we can just push through and get that one last thing done - the project for work, the extra load of laundry, the PTA assignment - we will be able to relax and feel ok resting.
This has got to stop! First off, guess what? As soon as you get that one last thing done, one more thing will come up. There will never be an open calendar unless you specifically plan for one. It's doable but it must be done intentionally. The world will not let you rest until you consciously choose to make rest a priority.
Next, taking the time to rest is key. Pushing to get extra work done drains your energy and leads to poor quality work and interactions. Surely you've experienced a situation where you've been slaving away at something and struggling for new ideas only to end up feeling completely deflated. But once you step away, you have a breakthrough.
It takes a conscious choice to reclaim rest as a part of your life but it is so worth it. Rest refuels your mind, body, and heart and lets you come out of overdrive. When you're not in overdrive, your natural curiosity and creativity flow. In overdrive, those things are shut down by your mind's need to control or "get things done."
When you are in rest and restore mode, your mind quiets down and your natural wisdom can speak.
And oh my, that feels SO much better!
If there was ever a time to Reclaim Rest, 'tis the season. In winter, Mother Nature drops her responsibility to grow, Grow, GROW and produce, Produce, PRODUCE so that she can REST Rest rest. Once winter is over, she bursts forth again into spring with vibrant colors and unbelievable abundance. If she didn't give the seeds time to sleep in the earth and germinate, or give the trees time to store their sap in their roots, the energy would eventually be depleted and spring would be pretty dull.
Let us not fall victim to our culture that insists on running on empty. Let us instead reclaim the right and responsibility to rest. As someone who cares deeply and probably holds space for others as a parent, teacher or coach, your rest reaches beyond just you and changes the world around you.