So, it is a Sunday night. The night before we begin another work week. And I, as well as many others, I am sure, am overwhelmed with an anxiety. Honestly, it is not just an anxiety, but more like a panic.
The kind where your heart pounds, your thoughts race, and you can barely sleep. Actually, I have not really slept. More so, just tossed and turned. And as I do, I contemplate things to “fix.” Sometimes to escape it, I eat, or I exercise, or I guess you could say I just run away from confronting the anxiety at all.
I think for a lot of people, the idea of starting your work week, or heading to school, or whatever trouble Monday brings, can feel dreadful and overwhelming. What I do not think many people realize, however, is the reason why. Yes, you may genuinely hate your job or that class or even the upcoming appointment, but I also think it is important to acknowledge the other part: you may feel exhausted. Mentally, emotionally, and physically.
I am sure many of you are thinking, “Well, I sleep enough, and I do things that make me happy on occasion…” The reality is not many of us actually rest. And I am not just talking about laying down for the seven hours of sleep you may or may not get every night.
Rest is not just sleep. It is finding moments throughout your day and week to find a place where you feel safe and supported. It is letting silence be just that, instead of going over the things you have yet to do or panicking over what you have already done. It is letting yourself be and understanding that you deserve it.
I know the concept of rest, at least when discussed in this manner, is not simple. In fact, it is the opposite for many (myself included). It can be really hard to find the time to just be. Between a forty-hour work week, school schedules, kids, socializing, errands, and more, not many of us always have access to what feels like a privilege, when it should be a right. I would like to take a moment to lend you some tips to make this your right again.
First, dedicate 5-20 minutes a day to yourself and only you. Maybe this is the first thing you do every morning. Maybe it is during your lunch break at work. Maybe it is in the shower. Wherever it is, when you enter this place, you are no longer available for others.
Second, give yourself permission. Either in your mind, or aloud, say, “This is my time and my space to rest. Everyone needs time to disconnect. I am included in this. It is okay to step away for a moment.”
Third, take a moment to ground yourself. Close your eyes, or simply rest your head back and inhale for five to ten seconds, followed by an exhale for five to ten seconds. Repeat this five times. Tense your shoulders and clench your fists and release. Allow your body to sink into whatever comfortable space you have found.
Fourth, pick something that brings you joy. Maybe this is your favorite chocolate bar. Maybe this is a song. Maybe it is sitting in the sunshine. Take a moment to prioritize your joy.
You can not run on empty, and you should not need to. Before we can show up for anyone or anything else, we must show up for ourselves. Your rest and mental well-being matters. IT IS IMPORTANT (I emphasize this kindly).