Finding new rhythyms of work and rest throughout my day has been much needed after suffering through many days of feeling frazzled, worn down, and exhausted. It hasn’t been an easy change. I’m still growing and working, but it has been rewarding thus far.
There are days where I feel so run down, but when I look at my day I hadn’t really accomplished anything significant, yet I didn’t stop moving. Neither of those can be a good thing, especially days on end. It amazes me that I can go an entire day and not fully connect with Ruby, work on a million projects, and then not actually knock off a single item off my to do list. It only adds to my anxiousness and then I resolve to do better, to work harder the next day, and the cycle continues.
I just needed to stop.
That’s what I did. Stopping the cycle was just what I needed. I’m learning that it’s ok to take a breather and to rest, but also that I still need to work hard too. It’s learning the balance that has been tricky. For so long I’ve been trying to do it all at once, but then I’m never fully working hard and worst, I’m not actually resting.
I’ve written about my journey of finding joy in motherhood, and I know that this is a part of that. Alternating times of working hard with good rest has made the days not feel so long. By the end of the day, I actually feel like I’ve accomplished tasks and also rested. I can get used to this.
Here’s what I’m learning to date:
Rest follows good work.
I’m one of those obnoxious procrastinators that wait for the last second for anything. I’ve learned to harness this deadline energy for good for the most part, but it still weighs on my anxiety at times. And the thing that’s hard about motherhood is there is no real deadline. So, I’ve started to make my own timelines. When we go down for breakfast I will unload the dishwasher while making Ruby her morning oatmeal. And then sit down and finish eating with her. Then, I’ll make sure the entire kitchen is clean before taking time for a morning rest.
I’ve been taking a page out of my husband’s book and working hard to finish an item off my to do list. Instead of doing a little of everything, even though I’m a starter, not a finisher, I’ve been building this habit. “Done is best,” his words ring in my ear as I try to put on his efficient nature. And he’s right (for the most part ;)) it feels really good to get something done and to not think about it any longer.
And that’s the key. To finish a work so that it’s not floating in your brain anymore. That way it’s easier to find rest.
Sit down and enjoy your coffee.
How many of you take your coffee on the go? Even when I’m home I’ll move my coffee from room to room and before I know it, it’s cold or my yummy cold brew is completely watered down.
During our travels to Europe, I learned the art of latte mugs and glasses, sitting down and drinking coffee. In Paris, the norm is not a disposable cup and in fact, they will look at you funny if you ask for one. And I know what they’re thinking too, “Silly American, sit down and enjoy your coffee, it only takes a few minutes”
I picked up some illy coffee this week to take me back to our days in Paris and remind to sit down and drink my coffee. It turns out it’s not all that difficult when the coffee is delicious.
And so, most days I sit down, often with a book while Ruby is playing (not always so quietly) and drink my coffee. Afterwards, I feel refreshed enough to fully engage in play with Ruby.
It’s simple, but it’s setting the pace for my days. The art of slowness that our culture is striving for is in enjoying these little moments.
Busyness is an illness of the spirit. – Eugene Peterson
Make time for rest.
This goes with sitting down and enjoying your coffee, but we can’t rest if we don’t make room. We’re all so busy and it seems rather useless if we’re not taking time to rest, to be present, to fully absorb these little days we have on this earth.
Here’s what I have to say about this, and I tell this to myself daily:
Rest is just as important as any other item on your to-do list, so write it down and do it. And do it well.
Good rest doesn’t mean staring at a wall for thirty minutes after putting your little one down for their nap. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this? There are days when I’m so exhausted I just stop and stare and before I realize thirty minutes have gone by. And, maybe that’s what I need, but I also could have been more restored by a quick nap, a phone call to a friend, or reading a book.
Or worst, often my rest is staring at my phone and scrolling through Instagram. I’ve learned for myself that social media can be restful to an extent, but more often than not leads to wasting valuable time. For the most part this summer, I’ve given up on social media. I’m slowly adding it back in, making sure to check in briefly and breaking the habit of scrolling.
And I’ve done a lot more reading. And man, it has been so good for me. My next step is to get back into journaling.
Want to join me on this journey? I’m starting slow and as you can see most of the things I’ve learned are mostly in the morning. I guess it seemed the best way to start. I have ideas this fall for adding in more rhythms of work and rest into our routine. This week decided to sign up Ruby for a preschool class to better grow in this area now that the toddler days are more challenging.
I’d love to hear what you’re already doing, or if anything inspired you from this post?
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