Practical Steps To Incorporate Rest and Self-Care Into Your Busy Life
Is self-care about being selfish? No.
Is rest just sitting and doing nothing? Not really.
Is it laying and scrolling through Instagram feed? Hmm
Is it sleeping? Yes, it’s part of it.
Is it sitting and playing your favourite game? Maybe..
In a fast paced world where everything is moving nonstop and there’s always something to do, there is need to take a step back and pause. If anything these unusual times have taught us, it is to reevaluate our lives - to slow down, to stop and to rest.
Rest is more about being than doing. Genuine rest is first from inside then outside. It is being unperturbed which allows you to reset. It is ceasing to worry and your mind recognises the boundaries between when to work and when to stop. When to be active and when to wind down. But are these boundaries possible to enact and maintain? Maybe Desiree's story will give some clues.
Desiree is a go-getter. She is the kind of woman that knows what she wants and goes after it. She’s a multifaceted person, having several skills and expressions. Sometimes, she gets so overwhelmed and other times, she’s so inspired. But what she particularly struggles with are constant worrying and not resting. She doesn’t know what means to have genuine rest and she can’t stop worrying about a thousand things- the ones beyond her control and the ones within.
No sooner than later, cranky morning, feeling fatigued and helplessly tired after several hours of sleep became her reality. Sometimes, she thinks she’s resting but that is not the case. Desiree may be sleeping but her mind keeps working because there is a lot of unfinished business her mind is still processing and this exhausts her.
What broke the camel’s neck was the incident at work- yesterday. Desiree had relentlessly chased some promising prospects for her company for a few months and she finally got a pitch with them. Hours before the presentation the most unusual thing happened to her.
First her head started to pound, then she couldn’t bring herself to master her pitch as she was missing a line or two. She felt like so many tabs were opened in her brain and they were hanging! Her eyes were shaking from restlessness. She took a brief break to the bathroom and couldn’t recognise who she saw in the mirror.
Who was this? With sunken eyes, weary body and mind yet with a bright soul? It then dawned on her. She was exhausted. She broke into hot tears. “ I’m not sure I can go through with this pitch”, she said to herself. It was then she made a decision that will change her life.
Like Desiree, you may be multifaceted, wearing different robes of responsibility. You may also not be like Desiree but you can relate with the feeling of being drained, overwhelmed and exhausted.
You need rest to perform at your best and it should not be when you break down before you take care of yourself. Showing yourself tender loving care (TLC) starts by first showing yourself kindness, because you deserve it and you are worth it. Self-care is not about being selfish. It is making out time to nourish yourself so that you do not burnout and you can be able to give freely.
Self-care is not limited to binging on your favourite series or satisfying food cravings. It requires you to make intentional decisions, changes, choices that will enhance your life and help you to be the best version of yourself.
Self-care is relative and there’s no rigid framework for it. You’ll have to define what self-care means to you and the actions you’ll be taking to incorporate it into your life.
Don’t know where to start? The following tips will get you started on your journey to rest and self care:
1. Get to know yourself
This requires you to ask yourself pertinent questions like; do you love yourself? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What is important to you? What does success mean to you? What relationships matter to you? Your goals? What makes you happy? What do you believe? What genuinely gives you joy? What do you need to forgive yourself for? What are your fears? Why do you have them? What can you do to address them? Where do you need help? What can you do to make your life better? Finding answers to these questions is a step in the right direction in getting to know yourself.
2. Create structure in your life
This is putting actionable processes/systems in place that ensure that your life runs well. For example, structure may be having a timetable for what your activities are for the week and then intentionally slotting in time to rest and for self-care. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to a rigid schedule. It simply means creating a flexible plan that works for you and understanding that in life, change is constant.
Structure requires discipline which can be hard for someone that’s trying to break a habit but the reward is fulfilling. It would also help to break your tasks into to do list according to the order of importance so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Structure helps to manage your time well, hence more time to rest,enjoy me-time, spend time with family/friends and engage in activities that brings you joy.
3. Nurture self-trust
Most of the time, the reason why you overwork or ride yourself ragged is because you do not trust yourself to get the work done. This is when self-trust comes into play. It allows you to take the necessary break believing that you would do the job or task. You can start to build self trust by keeping little promises to yourself. That way, you are self assured that you wouldn’t disappoint.
4. Seek/ receive help
Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on. Contrary to the notion that receiving help is a sign of weakness, it takes courage to acknowledge that you need help, therefore seeking help is a brave thing to do. Do not be ashamed to reach out to trusted sources and resources when you feel you cannot do it on your own. In some cases, you don't even need to ask for help because it is available but you may find it difficult to receive help. It is okay to ask and receive help.
5. Live intentionally
Living intentional means you do not wait for life to happen to you. You happen to life. You take practical steps to make better decisions for yourself and you choose to live in a manner that resonates with your sense of self and your sense of purpose. Intentionality is required on your journey to rest and tender loving care because it is easy to get distracted in this digital era.
It is possible to enjoy genuine rest and self-care even amidst the busy life schedule. It starts by making a decision to be intentional about it and showing kindness to you and others.
What are you doing to make genuine rest and self-care part of your life? Share your thoughts in the comments section.