"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."
~ Sidney J. Harris
It couldn't have been timelier when I came upon THIS article regarding the under appreciation of REST, from the site "Becoming Minimalist". Go ahead, read it. I think you might need a rest too. I'll wait..................
Something monumental happened in September. I hit a wall. I reached my breaking point. I burnt out. I realized that I just couldn't keep such a bust pace anymore. I. am. EXHAUSTED.
It stems from the inability to say "No", and what I can only think to be a deep desire for self-flagellation. I 've been scurrying about like a crazy squirrel for three years now, saying "Yes" to everyone and everything, all the while, WORKING at my main, full-time JOB; running a home and parenting a fairly young child. In those three years, in addition to all of my responsibilities at home, I carried a series of HUGE projects. Like managing TWO consecutive complete home renovations, followed by a MOVE, and in-between, a school-year long position, chairing a fundraising auction. (That by the way,brought in over $120,000. Woot!) It was all a ton of work. And to top it off, I have never been involved in less than two volunteer positions and projects at any time, for the past five years. SHESH! I'm just tired thinking about it!
This has left little time for myself, for the health of my mind, body and soul. The uber-busy days and weeks keep me from being my best. The entanglement of a full calendar keeps me from accomplishing all the things I deeply desire to do. Like, I don't know, my main JOB, caring for the house, making everyone their meals, running a household and parenting. As I've said before, I LOVE being home, I LOVE making our house, a home! I just wish there were less distractions and obligations pulling me away.
My friend asked the other day, if Jon had watched the DVD that he had loaned us last winter. I was embarrassed and apologized and told him, "No, actually he hasn't." I then went on to say that really, we watch very little television , let alone videos these days, and that.....come to think of it....... we've almost never relaxed in our family room together! (This is the room that houses a TV and the DVD player/Netflix.) We've lived in the new house for going on a year, but we have almost never use the family room! This weirdness hit me. And, I know exactly what all of this means. It means, we have forgotten how to relax. We don't rest.
I have forgotten how to relax. Oh my God.
It all makes sense. For the past several years, I have woken up every single morning with the strangest thing: clenched fists. This is from stress. Stress, stress, stress. Go-go-go. I even make the same fists during the day, and didn't realize until recently that I'm tensing so many muscles, just standing around, my new natural state. This can't be good. :(
So, I'm being very deliberate. I'm trying hard to set some boundaries, to politely say "no". I need to remove my email from my phone, turn the ringer off sometimes. I plan, after the end of October, to fiercely protect our calendar and make sure there is lots of free and open down-time in there.
(Which is a joke because in November I have two birthdays to plan for -Jon and Noah. AND we are hosting a fairly large Thanksgiving. And then Chanukah and then Christmas and then New Years....Oy.)
When I had the epiphany that "Gee! I DON'T KNOW HOW TO RELAX!" I forced myself to at least try. And it felt so foreign, and almost stressful to not being doing anything. BUT, by the second day, it was already getting easier.
Rest and relaxation are such important elements for a full and healthy life. I can't believe that I've let things get this out of balance. But the good news is, now I see! So, I'll keep working on it. Who knows, by next year, maybe I'll even be a type B personality!
What do you do to rest or relax?
Here are a few things I've done recently to head in the right direction............
We went to a coffee shop and sat outside on a nice day. A perfect place to read.
Sipped the very best almond milk hot chocolate in the world. Get it HERE!
Oh! This is a picture of the very first time I tried to relax. I think I did and ok job.
Appreciated on of the last warm days in Michigan with open windows and doors.
We walked to the library and checked out book! I'm so dorky, cats and crochet. I know. ;)
I crocheted a potholder! That looks like a watermelon! *blush* So silly.
Noah and Jon played marbles with the clay marbles we made together last spring. That's how kids made them in the olden days!
I was like: "Jon. Smile!" I needed to take an official picture of us "relaxing" in the family room.
You can go to your library and notice some of the architecture.
And, you know, the light fixtures.
I watch Willow play with Priya's tail.
I watched Willow take a nap in a crocheted cat snuggie.
I watched Hector take nap with a stuffed animal.
I spent sometime cooking a new recipe. Mongolian mushroom!
I took portraits of my cats.
Wow, this post is really cat and crochet heavy, huh?
More cats, more yarn. Weird.
Look! I'm watching TV! In bed!
Annnnd, I stopped to smell the roses. You should too!