“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott
In college, I remember my therapist asking me, “when was the last time you took a moment to actively rest, to sit and do nothing?”. I did not have an answer for her. At the time, I was enrolled in classes full-time, worked a full-time job, held a leadership position on the executive committee of my sorority, volunteered on the weekends, and the week before, just planned my mom’s funeral. I made sure every minute of my day was planned and filled with activities with no room for rest.
I used to make jokes to my friends and classmates about “sleep is for the weak” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” which now I realize was a deflection tactic for trying to avoid acknowledging my nonexistent self-care practices and toxic coping mechanisms. The result of the consecutive weeks and months without rest was eventual burnout. I ended up needing to take six weeks of short-term disability leave from my job with a sign off from my psychologist and physician to focus on my mental health.
This was a pivotal moment in the beginning of my self-care journey. I never knew before talking with my HR department that there were resources available, like short-term disability, for mental health. During those six weeks, I developed a self-care plan with my therapist that included rest as a priority. Today, rest can include anything from five minutes of connecting with my breath through apps like Calm or Headspace, afternoon naps, or just 30 minutes of alone time to sit and listen to an audiobook. Incorporating active rest into my everyday routine is what helps me avoid the burnout I once experienced.
Here is my reminder to you: This holiday season, find time to rest and recharge. You deserve it.