There’s an almost ironic type of paradox that happens when you become a parent. From the moment our tiny humans enter this world we’re rapt with seeking reprieve wherever we can find it. And yet, there’s a naturally occurring voice in our heads admonishing us for not doing more with any spare moment we have. Dishes need to be done. School paperwork needs to be filled out. Work emails need to be answered. Your big kids need some quality time with you.
The chance to truly rest and let go feels radical, against the stream of how so many of us live our lives. Parenthood allows us so little opportunity to slow down and stop, little chance to breathe. But we have to be able to tune in and listen to when our body or our mind is begging for a pause. It takes a strong person to recognize when enough is enough. There’s no weakness in needing to rest; in fact, it’s the opposite.
Acknowledging that we are valuable, worthy, and loved makes us better parents. But also embracing humility and understanding that the world will go on if we take a break is just as important to understand. There’s a TEDtalk that makes a great case for taking a break when you’re worried the world will stop spinning. Rest is not a waste of time. In a world that relies on our willingness to exhaust ourselves to the point we can't function, resting is a beautiful act of rebellion and a much-needed act of self-care.
Rest is revolutionary. This can be hard to believe sometimes because there is always a reason NOT to unplug and not to dedicate time to ourselves. But the moments when we feel too overwhelmed to rest are actually the moments we need to rest the most. The truth is that everything demanding our attention will be there when we get back. Rest can make a huge difference in how we feel about that, and how we choose to approach our commitments and our lives.
When you rest, you are pouring love and care into yourself. Rest is not, however, means to an end.
Rest is, in and of itself, a worthwhile pursuit.
You and I were not meant to constantly go until we burn out, and then go again until the cycle repeats. Our whole selves—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual—have needs that often we only become aware of in the resting seasons of our life.
So if you still feel like you need it, here is your permission slip: Take time today to tend to your energetic balance. To take frequent pauses, to mindfully breathe, and draw attention to the present moment. To purposefully step away from work or interactions and take a walk outside. To quiet your mind and move your body. To give yourself permission to rest.