I had a pretty lousy thought on Monday morning. I mentally flicked through all of the commitments, plans, and deadlines I had coming up until the end of the year and noticed the following thought come up: “If I can just make it through the next three weeks…”
Not great, huh? And, while the time-frame is specific to my circumstances, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
“Are you the most tired you can ever remember being?” asks a friend. Well, yes.
I have it easy – my caring responsibilities are limited and my work is physically undemanding and very low stakes – but I am wrecked.
The brain fog, tearful confusion and deep lethargy I feel seems near universal.
A viral tweet from February asked: “Just to confirm … everyone feels tired ALL the time no matter how much sleep they get or caffeine they consume?”
The 71,000-plus retweets seemed to confirm it’s the case.
I’m a huge advocate for self-compassion, which comprises of three elements; mindfulness (awareness of how we’re feeling, without judging, rejecting, or becoming caught up in it), common humanity (recognising that we’re not alone in our struggles, and that they’re a normal part of being human), and self-kindness (speaking to, and treating, ourselves with care and love).
And I’ll admit that sometimes it’s hard – especially when faced with other people’s needs. I don’t consider myself to be a huge people-pleaser, erring slightly more on the side of what Gretchen Rubin would describe as a Questioner, but there are frequently times when I’m faced with the choice between self-care (which is usually a nap, due to my chronic illness) and replying to emails/messages or fulfilling a prior commitment.
(Heck, even now, I’m postponing having a nap until I finish this post.)
But having a lie-down isn’t, of course, the only kind of rest in town. Emma’s article covers her bid to overcome her exhaustion through her week-long trial of the 7 types identified by Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith, a physician and the author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity; physical, mental, emotional, social, sensory, creative, and spiritual.
As someone who’s highly sensitive, I’m aware that having a nap isn’t just about having a snooze. Lying down in a quiet, darkened room for half an hour is as much a sensory break as it is about sleeping. And there are times when I skip a nap, and do something creative instead.
So, as the festive season is upon us, and our focus is directed even more than usual towards others, I wonder: what kinds of rest do you need to help you look after yourself this month?
Perhaps Dalton-Smith’s “rest test” can help you find out. I’m going to take it myself, to find out what other kinds of rest I really need.
Right after I have my nap…