With an awareness of the extremely difficult situations many were (and continue to be) faced with throughout the pandemic, individual circumstances meant some struggled, and some were left with more time.
Extra time can bring a mixture of feelings and emotions, however for some, it allowed the space to reconnect, and the ability to listen to daily needs and begin to live more intuitively with them.
With a slightly slower pace throughout lockdown one, I promised myself that as and when life resumed, I would maintain this speed of life, and rather than continuing on autopilot in a fast paced society, I would take more time to prioritise rest.
Has it happened? Unfortunately not! For me, it felt like the pace picked up again overnight and I was easily swept away!
Typical 21st century lifestyle has made boredom extinct. With so many things to juggle we put rest to the end of our to do list; a reward for getting all of our jobs done. But the truth is, there is no end, there will always be jobs to do.
Here we are, 18 months from the first lockdown. Could this be the time for us to re-evaluate how our life is looking, and whether it’s worth moving further into normality at a pace which suits us as individuals, whilst prioritising relaxation and welcoming rest?
As a society, many want to be busy. Think about what we say when someone asks us how we are…
‘I’m good thanks, just busy’.
And we are, life is busy, but does it always need to be?
We put pressure on ourselves to be busy; sometimes assuming it will make others value us more.
‘Busy = productive = important.’
We set high standards for ourselves, wanting to pack too much into our day which then becomes unmanageable, leaving us feeling guilty or like a failure if we can’t keep up.
We often put others first; prioritising our family, our friends, our partner, our work colleagues all before prioritising ourselves.
Why do we struggle to rest?
We feel guilty when we are not busy/ productive – like we should be doing something all of the time. Think about when we were at school – we had regular breaks. We still need this as adults.
As a non-stop society, we almost judge people who aren’t busy:
- ‘What, you’re not working through your lunch break?’
- ‘You didn’t reply to a client’s message on your day off?’
Rest is associated with laziness or not working hard. We feel like we need to justify our rest time; even socially – making saying no without a follow up so difficult.
- Forever accessible
We are constantly reachable. Years ago you’d say goodbye to a colleague when you leave work and see them again the next day. Now that colleague can reach you over text/ phone call, social media, via email, or on LinkedIn!!
Once someone has been in touch, the guilt creeps back in, making us feel like we need to reply straight away. How will we ever be able to switch off if we are constantly accessible?
- Living in the future
We are forever thinking about the next thing on our list, or when we do get a break, filling it with another job, emails or social media, therefore never being fully present to check in with ourselves or get some actual headspace to unwind and relax.
These opportunities to rest are so important as they allow us to become creative with our thoughts, come up with new ideas or just give us time to listen to our body and what it needs.
- Social media
Our social media feeds are constantly telling us to be doing something, or making it easy for us to compare ourselves to others, at times leaving us feeling inadequate if we are not doing the same.
Filling our rest time with the busyness of social media may be escapism, but is it truly rest?
Make rest happen!
Look at your daily/ weekly list and think about whether or not it is manageable.
Consider your ideal restful situations. What are the barriers which prevent you from making these ideal situations, reality? Most of which involve time.
How to make the time?
- Prescribe it/ book it in
Write your restful activity in your diary alongside when you intend on doing it – it will make you more likely to actually perform!
- Make it a habit
Attach a restful activity to another habit to make it stick. E.g. a morning meditation whilst your coffee brews.
- Say no
Find the balance between attending those all important catch ups that you know will make you feel good, but not feeling the pressure to do everything that is asked of you.
All of this is easier said than done. Sometimes we just have really busy spells in our lives that we cannot avoid. If this is the case - prioritise! Think about what is urgent and what can wait. Feel content in the knowledge that everything cannot be done in one day.
- Ask for help
There is nothing shameful about asking for help – be sure to share the load.
Regular rest makes us more productive. It isn’t a reward – it’s a necessity when working toward a healthy balanced lifestyle. Working prioritise a slower pace and make time for relaxation could not only help us to feel well equipped to deal with what’s next, but support us toward a healthier, happier and more mindful future. Do you need to make time for more rest?
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
The ‘Wellness with Anna’ philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health. Often, the tools needed to make a lasting change are already in your toolbox. I offer client led guidance in order to support the progress of an individual working to meet their personal wellness goals. I will not diagnose, treat or take responsibility for bringing about wellness change, but direct, listen and support development.
We work together on a journey to make health a main priority, both physically and mentally.