I’ve been dragging myself along for the last week or so. My sleep cycles have been out of rhythm, causing me to be up late and then struggle to get out of bed in the morning.
I’ve felt unmotivated even for my morning workouts or yoga practice, puttering around on my mat. Concentration and focus have been elusive.
There was a time I used to panic in this state, fearful that something was wrong with me. But I know that nothing is wrong. This is just a sign of winter.
My body and mind have been sending a clear request for permission to rest.
Despite the fact that others tell me I give them permission to rest, my self-permission doesn’t come as easily.
When I get fixated on a goal or project, I want to fully immerse and work around the clock until it’s complete. I have a list of open loops that I want to finish by the end of the year, and a familiar refrain rings inside my head:
I don’t have time for rest.
My resistance to rest is a conditioned response, influenced by the repeated refrain of a cultural song that tells us that now is the time to plan, that resting will cause us to fall behind.
Of course I know that’s not true. Even before 2020 I learned the hard way that it’s futile to resist the body’s calling. If we don’t make time for rest, the body finds a way to get it.
Rest is not optional. It’s not something we receive only as a reward for finishing our work or our projects. We don’t earn the right to rest after putting in a hard days’ work.
Rest is not a luxury to be afforded only to the deserving few. It is a necessity. Like breath, food, and water, rest is an essential nutrient of a healthy system.
I know that my body is simply attuning to the rhythms of nature. That same innate wisdom that causes the trees, flowers, and animals to retreat also exists within us — a primordial response to the changing seasons.
So I give myself permission to rest. I do what I can, releasing expectations around timelines and judgments about what got done.
I know that, as with nature, the stillness above ground belies the work happening beneath the surface. Without a period of dormancy, new seeds do not sprout and grow.