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.
As Emma Bedington put it recently in The Guardian,
“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…
Photo by Valeria Ushakova from Pexels
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