How many times today have you stopped moving and said to yourself, "I'm so tired." I bet quite a few. How do I know this? Because I have too. For so many years I took pride in being busy all of the time, working hard to fill in every day, every weekend and every moment with some sort of activity. It made me feel accomplished and I took pride in all of the multi tasking and craziness I was partaking in.
And then 2020 hit. And we were all forced to slow down in a different way. It wasn't all restful, that's for sure. But it was definitely less busy and it gave me time to reflect on my life and how busy I had become. What I realized is that while yes, as a working mom of 3, wife and entrepreneur, I had things in my life that definitely kept me busy. But I was doing it in a way that wasn't healthy for me or for my family. I was using "busy" to cope with all sorts of things. It was a way to distract me from the issues in my life and it kept me from really addressing deep pain and hurt. While I was forced to live life differently for awhile, I was also forced to slow down. And rest. And it's one of the things I'm grateful for in the midst of the past few years because now I see and know the importance and value of slowing down and resting.
Our worlds our crazy and chaotic. It seems like most of us have gotten back on the hamster wheel of life with activities, social events, travel, gatherings etc. There have been many times over the past several months that I've asked myself if we're busier now than before the pandemic. I don't think I am, but I do think I have less tolerance for this running on the hamster wheel craziness that is my life. It increases my anxiety and overwhelm, which causes me to be short and irritable and I have less energy and desire to do the things I really want to do. Do you feel it too?
This is why, especially right now as we head into the holiday season, I want to talk about the importance of slowing down and resting. And I'm giving you PERMISSION (if you need it) to do just that. Without feeling guilty or feeling lazy, it's time to take that much needed time and give our bodies and minds the rest they need. Put away your list of "to do's" for just a bit, and take some time to care for your body, mind, soul and spirit. Because truly, in order to speed up, we need to slow down first. It helps us regenerate and refuel. A tired body and mind just doesn't work as well as one that is rested and refreshed.
Need a reason to rest? Here are just a few benefits of rest...
It improves immune function. Staying busy wears us out, which also wears out our immune system. We need our immune system to be functioning the best it can, especially right now as we head into the depths of cold and flu season.
It improves memory and ability to make decisions.
It boosts creativity. Think about how that might help if you are tackling a new project, skill or building a new business?
It reduces stress and anxiety and improves our mental well being. When we are rushing around from activity to activity, it puts us in a constant state of flight or fight mode. It increases cortisol levels in our bodies and contributes to stress and negatively impacts our mental health. When we rest, it allows our body to return to a calmer and more relaxed state, in turn, decreasing those cortisol levels, stress and anxiety.
Speaking of stress and cortisol, both contribute to weight gain. Rest can actually prevent some of that weight gain. Sometimes stress causes us to eat or drink too much. But another thing that can happen when we are not resting or sleeping well, is that it can disrupt our body's ability to use insulin properly. Normally, our fat cells help to remove fatty acids and lipids from our bloodstream so we don't store them. When our bodies become resistant to insulin, more fats start to circulate through our body, causing our bodies to secrete more insulin. Eventually the body stores the extra fat in the wrong places, contributing to obesity and diabetes.
It improves our mood and makes us feel happier.
It improves productivity. Just think how much more you would get done in your crazy busy life if you allowed your body to slow down and rest for a bit? Your brain is less fatigued and you're more efficient. Amazing.
If these aren't reasons enough to encourage you to slow down and rest, I honestly don't know what is. I know it can feel hard to make time for rest, but I'm telling you right now that you can. It IS possible. And it's necessary to our survival. So here's your permission slip or prescription or whatever you need to call it so that you'll do it...REST. Schedule it in. Make time for it. Turn off the notifications from all of your devices and find time today to do something you enjoy and feels restful. You can thank me later.