Dear Fellow Bombarded Females,
How often do we longingly think of rest? Most likely yearning for the physical kind of rest as we hurry to get out of bed for an early alarm clock or battle a sleepless night. No matter the stage of life, everyone faces the challenge of too much screentime too close to bed or added stress that causes a racing mind through the night. What about soul rest? Letting our mind rest? Do we slow down enough to let that happen or consider the benefits of making it a requirement in our lives?
As Timothy J, Legg, Ph.D., CRNP writes in his article 11 Surprising Physical Symptoms of Anxiety, our body undergoes physical reactions to anxiety. Physical actions in the body from tremors or pins and needles to trouble sleeping and trouble breathing. So, if we go through a normal day of stressors and experience anxiety then don’t go through the appropriate steps that our body needs to rest more than our physical being but our mind and our emotions, then we will add to a cyclical process of more reasons to not rest alongside our busy schedules and too much screen time.
So why write ANOTHER article on rest? Aren’t there enough google search responses for anyone to find a related topic that they need? Most likely. Ironically, I don’t want you to be like me. I want you to be like you. I’m not trying to make you agree with me, see my way, become me, be like my kids, my clients, or even make you my friend. You do you. You find what works for you. I will maybe help you with this article find something out about yourself, but not so you can be like me, so you can contribute to allowing others to be themselves.
We must be a more evolved set of people and we can’t be of service to others unless we evolve ourselves. So, I hope this article leads you to accept another piece of yourself. And once you have done that, then decide if you want more.
As busy moms, business owners, activists, wives, daughters, and any combination thereof and more, we piece together rest. A dinner out with friends or a quick pedicure. A shopping trip alone to Target justified by milk and bread or milk and diapers just so you can catch your breath and turn the radio down to silent so you can hear yourself think for once in the day. So many women report taking this time to even silently cry to release the tension or stress once they are alone from compounding issues, one of which being exhaustion.
Eventually, we progress to learning to clean our houses BEFORE we leave for vacation, so we come home to a clean house (or hire a cleaning service while you are gone TIP #1A) and don’t ruin our post-vacation vibe. The question remains, when do we rest our bodies when we FEEL we need it, rather than on a special occasion? Eat good food, drink good wine. Enforce boundaries like comfy pajamas and romcoms even if it’s cliché or taking a 3-mile run every morning so that you can feel rejuvenated for yourself, not for the effects it has on your waistline.
With maturity and the grace of women before us guiding us (rather than guilt and alienation from other women before us), we learn to ask for help with certain things to lighten the load. Maybe the laundry goes to the dry cleaner, or the kids learn to wash and dry bath towels to minimize the loads you have to be responsible for.
We must look for the moments that allow soul rest sooner than a reactive state. Here’s an example. I like my life to appear very put together from the outside. I’m like a duck on a pond if you know me. Calm and cool on the surface but my legs are probably going like crazy under the water. I’m a recovering people pleaser and I like for people around me to be fulfilled by having experiences in life that I can afford them. Maybe that’s trying new foods I can cook or ride in a Jeep for the first time, for some people in my life my home is just simply a respite for them, a warm cup of tea or a cold beer and an ear to listen. My patio is full of flowers and has pretty chairs.
I walked out on the patio about a month ago, early in the morning and the moment struck me. I have more of these moments in my life after losing my dad than I ever have. My flowers were in full bloom and not only looked stunning, but they also smelled divine. The sun was rising early in the morning still, so it was warm and full in my face. My dog had already snuck out the door and was basking in the sun, the moment was perfect. I almost walked right past it, in fact, in a rush to take my pup out for a potty break and off with my day. Instead, I was able to stop and realize that these are the moments that bring the ability to breathe a little deeper if you take in the opportunity.
Now I’m a selfie girl so Nala, my Great Dane was happy to oblige, and she and I had a few minutes to quickly set up the camera and smile into the sunshine before we were off on our regular scheduled programming, but the extra vitamin D and the added dog slobber was good for my soul. It’s taking in the moment around me and what I work for.
Maybe for you, it’s a different location or it’s a different season. The point is if you challenge yourself to find the restful moments, can you?
We use the saying “breathe life in” around my world because taking a deep breath causes your lungs to get bigger! Deep breathing lowers blood pressure, reduces heart rate, decreases stress hormones, oxygenates your blood, and improves your immunity! We just have to remember to do it! Take a deep breath. Find the restful moments in your life. When you see another person struggling, remind them to breathe. When your child needs a moment, remind them to breathe. Remind yourself to breathe.
I like to refer to it as finding your inner hippie. Plants, yoga, comfy clothes, feel-good music, healthy food. Whatever makes you feel YOU! I got a tattoo this year and it was so liberating. It’s not even in a place where you can easily see it but it’s MINE and it speaks to what I love about the important things in my life.
So, I will leave you with this…. I hope you take a moment to breathe life in today.