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On Labor & Rest

Wednesday September 5, 2018

On Labor & Rest

Each year, Labor Day feels like a sweet gift - a celebratory last hoorah of summer and an extra day of rest (or play) to honor all the hardworking people in our country. And while leisurely long weekends are always a welcome treat, I’m learning that true rest is a state of being rather than merely a compartmentalized block of downtime. It’s a deep sense of peace that’s interwoven into the everyday rhythm of our lives - freedom from worry about tomorrow, lightness about things that feel heavy, gratitude that we are not in control. If this is true rest, then the reality is that we can have it whether it’s Monday morning or Saturday afternoon. We can claim it amidst busyness and unapologetically protect it by the choices we make.

Yes, longer stretches of rest are necessary for recharging after particularly intense weeks or seasons - time for going on vacation, catching up on sleep, or treating ourselves to a massage - but perhaps inviting restfulness as the undercurrent of our busy lives will allow those moments of intentional, set-aside rest to actually provide the rejuvenation we need. Sometimes the pace of our lives is so frenetic that our rest looks more like crashing than recharging, as if we’re bingeing on sleep or Netflix or solitude after being starved of it for far too long.

The timing of this post is too appropriate as it aligns with my first official day back at the studio. As a first-time mama, this transition back to work is causing me to evaluate my habits and choices so that I can maintain the state of restfulness that I so need. As a girl all too familiar with that constant, low-grade anxiety from putting too much on my plate, I’m making these five commitments:

1. Protect my sleep

Given that my alarm clock (in the form of sweet baby babbles) is officially set for 6a-ish for the foreseeable future, I know that I need to be asleep by 11p to get the 7 hours that I need. Getting enough sleep is so crucial for our brains and bodies, and after experiencing 4 months of severe sleep deprivation, I know how detrimental those lost hours can be for my physical and mental health.

2. Prioritize self-care

I’m a true novice in the art of self-care and have only recently adopted a few routines (long showers, painting my nails, mindful meditations), but I’m hooked. Taking this time to nurture me is a gift to myself, a gentle reminder that I am valuable.

3. Accept loose ends

I love (LOVE) getting things squared away and the thought of having multiple loose ends genuinely causes me discomfort, but I’m learning that a crossed-off to-do list only gives an illusion of peace. Genuine acceptance about unreplied emails and that pile of laundry gives me freedom to fully be in the present rather than worrying about all the things that “need” to get done.

4. Learn to say no

Drawing boundaries and kindly turning down certain requests or invitations is so, so important for protecting the time we need to recharge. Overbooking myself leaves me stretched thin and worn out, too exhausted for the things that actually matter. I’m embracing that I don’t need to feel apologetic for saying “no, thank you” when necessary.

5. Ask for help; don’t look back

Too often I ask my husband to do something for Haley only to find myself secretly hovering or still preoccupied about it. As I step back into my role at work, I’m committing to asking people for help when I need it and fully letting go so that I can clear out some time and mental space to do the things I need to do well, whether at work or at home.

It is so freeing to know that rest is not the illusory thing we’re crawling towards all week, but that it can - and should - be our reality day in and day out. Would love for you to join me :)

embracing work + rest,
donna




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