My vision going into 2019 had been to travel, rest, nourish my health, and begin the next phase of my business, working from wherever I was. Even with the knowledge that I needed a lot of healing and rest, I was surprised by how much I needed. I spent the bulk of my time focused on physical therapy and other forms of healing from past traumas, brain injury, and burnout.
This journey required me to take a radical stand for my self-care, far beyond anything I had ever done before.
There were many times I felt guilty about this rest, like I should be doing more work to “deserve” it.
Even though this is what my body and soul were clearly craving for years before I decided to uproot my life; even though this was essential for my health — I was doing deep and difficult work of retraining deeply wired nervous system patterning; even though I was still working while doing this healing work and trying to rest, I still felt guilt around it.
Even though I hadn’t taken a vacation in over 5 years, and had never taken a gap year (or even a partial gap year) through high school, college, or law school, inner critic told me I hadn’t earned it.
Even now, I still battle those voices.
Cultural conditioning around this runs deep. I have always operated under the rules that rest comes after work. You need to finish your homework before you can go out to play. Complete the project before vacation. You can’t rest on your laurels. Don’t be lazy.
Check in with yourself. Do any of these sound familiar?
The United States was developed on a Puritanical work ethic that tells us work comes first, play comes second. Rest is your reward.
This is backward.
The problem with this system is that the work is never finished. There’s always more to do.
Rest and play are not rewards for a job well-done. They are essential pre-requisites to doing the work well in the first place.
If we don’t rest, if we don’t take time to recharge, ground ourselves, or heal, we won’t be able to do the work. Nourishing ourselves first is the best way to ensure we will have more to give to others.
It’s time to flip the script on the old ways of being. We can start with rest.
Rather than waiting for the work to be done, we can carve out the space in our schedules and put rest first.