I used to wait until I was completely exhausted, burned out, or in some cases even injured before I engaged in any self-care. I wouldn’t get a massage or take time for myself unless I had a migraine or was overworked. It was as if I was looking for that burnout to act as some sort of permission slip allowing me to take it easy.
Over the past year, I have made a continuous and conscious effort to flip this habit and instead work towards balancing out production with equal parts rest and rejuvenation. Okay, maybe not fully equal, but definitely more than I’ve allowed myself in the past. In theory, this sounds awesome. But in reality, it has been truly eye-opening to see how conditioned I’ve been to value work and productivity over downtime. And I’m willing to bet this is true for quite a few of you, too!
When I spend time resting or relaxing in some way, I find my brain is constantly offering up thoughts that make me feel like I’m doing something wrong. Things like:
- “This is frivolous”
- “You should be working”
- “It’s too expensive”
- “You are being selfish”
- or “There is no time to rest”
I’ve had to process feelings of guilt for not working more, or a general sense of restlessness or worry for being away from my work for too long while I’m trying to complete relaxing and cup-filling activities like reading, meditating, or journaling. And as you might imagine, these pestering thoughts greatly take away from my ability to actually relax in the way I’ve intended, robbing me of my precious downtime and discouraging me from sticking with this critical habit.
The irony is that when I jump right into work and neglect my self-care practices because I am believing there is not enough time or any of the other thoughts that are not true, I am more irritable, stressed, and sometimes even bitter. These feelings are not the best fuel for the actions I want to take in my day, so in the long-run overworking and undervaluing rest doesn’t really get me the long-term results I crave. You’ve probably heard that you can’t pour from an empty cup, right? It’s true! It’s absolutely crucial to take care of yourself in order to continue being able to take care of others – and make the impact you truly want to make, whether that be at work, within your business, for your family, etc.
What if instead of waking up and jumping right into work, you instead took some time to meditate, to stretch, to breathe, or to just be? What if you honored rest as much as you did work? How might your life be different?
Inspired action + sacred rest= the feeling of JOY and true balance.
You don’t have to be depleted, exhausted, or overwhelmed to take some time for yourself. We wouldn’t wait to feed/water our plants until they were dry, wilted, and broken or put them in the light. You don’t have to wait either. In fact, this is your permission slip to make self-care a priority, allowing you to start with an overflow of gratitude, energy, and joy!
If you’re struggling to find emotional balance in your life, let me help you find it. You can schedule a sacred hour with me here so we can connect and chat about how I can help.
Now go invest in rest this weekend and beyond!
Mind Your Strength,
Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.