I took the month of August off from counseling and life coaching. It was my time to practice what I preach. To be or not to be. It was a great opportunity for me to see if I could respect my boundaries and take care of my needs. It was also a good time to see who cared. You should try it? Man, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening. You’ll see who around you thinks you getting rest and time to yourself is important and who thinks otherwise.
Even your own ideas of rest are confronted when you take time to yourself to relax and enjoy your life free from the responsibility of work or caring for others. I had to ask myself a lot of questions.
•What’s my idea of rest? •Can I shut off my work mind? •Am I being selfish? •Is it okay to have some degree of selfishness when it comes to me resting?
Many times the answers I got were not favorable. They literally pushed me into a guilt trip. I was actually feeling bad about doing with my time what I wanted. Was I wrong to want to binge watch Southern Charm from season 1-season 8? Was it ridiculous for me to walk through the aisles at home goods and sniff candles? Do I get to take myself to lunch or sit by the pool in a bathing suit while other people are working? Am I wrong for resting? Who’s approval was I looking for?
I work hard and have worked hard enough and deserve rest. Rest for me is no longer a luxury it is a necessity.
Merriam-Webster dictionary has this definition of rest : “a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities.” The definition then goes on to say that rest is:
- “freedom from activity or labor,”
- “a place for resting or lodging,”
- “peace of mind or spirit,”
- “something used for support”
I got so excited about the last part! Rest can be used for support! Aha! There it is. My reason for not feeling guilty about taking this time off. It was right there. All the evidence I needed to substantiate my month off. See, I’m using this set aside time to support my mind and body so that when this time is up I have the strength and energy to support myself as I continue in my purpose. I could exhale. I would no longer let the overworked people around me make me feel lazy. This is necessary for me to be the best version of myself. It also helped me to see the importance of having emotionally healthy people in my life when I am trying to restore and stay motivated to be impactful and purposeful.
There must be people around you who value you and the access you give them.
Some people wait until you die to see your inherent value and admit that you’re a person who added to their life. Then there are those who help support you while you’re here. Identify the attention seekers, under functioning people and the people who feel entitled to your energy just because they’re self absorbed. Take care of yourself no matter how much they react in unhealthy ways to you taking care of your needs. And just know they will try to get you to feel bad for sticking to your boundaries. That’s what emotional vampires do. They suck the blood out of you. So draining.
Spend more time with the people who fuel you and who engage in reciprocity with you. Life is too short to spend it with people who don’t want you to be happy and emotionally whole too. You are not Jesus Christ and yet people will try to manipulate you into REPRESENTING Him in ways that is not your responsibility.
God created us to not only be productive and to work and to serve others- but to also rest, to sleep, to benefit from relaxation, time off and rejuvenation. We weren’t created as tireless robots here to serve people until we break down. We are human and we are finite. We need rest, just as much as we need air and food.
So what is rest? Rest is simply a break from doing. Are you making sure you give this to yourself in healthy increments? I remember when my kids were little. I thought I would never get any rest. They were so active, but at some point I had to be strategic. I had to set a schedule for them and for myself. Much of our struggle has to do with life management. We can’t be afraid to say no. We can’t be afraid to set boundaries. We can’t give up our free time for others all the time. When we do, we teach them we don’t respect our own needs. Then we end up with people speaking for us and saying we don’t mind doing things that we may actually mind. Honor your life. Before you can be good to others make sure you’re being good to you.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. PSALM 127:2
Sherry Grant copyright © 2022