How to Rest: A Mother’s Guide to the Impossible

Staying at Home is Exhausting

Here in Cedar Rapids, we are in the middle of an ongoing pandemic, a storm equivalent to a stage four hurricane wiped out 50% of our trees and countless properties, school started for some, and for many more of us, the daunting task of preparing to homeschool.

While school activities, commutes, meetings, and appointments have come to a screeching halt, we find staying at home is exhausting.

We are tired. But, there is tired and then there is what so many are feeling right now; utter overwhelm coated with numb compartmentalizations served with a side of “I can’t even.” We are coming fresh off a few decades of measuring our worth based on our productivity and busyness. Flipping that switch to recognizing the value is self-care is not easy, especially since we only change our minds through the repeated practice of carving new neural pathways.
Many of us have reached a point where we’re not being given a choice. Emotionally and psychologically, we sit at the precipice. If we don’t look after ourselves we will surely slip into the deep. In essence, we are being forced to confront our failed history in showing up for ourselves.

How to Rest: A Mother’s Guide to the ImpossibleHow DO you learn to rest? Let’s take the first steps together:

Find a Healthy Resignation to Rest

You are not more valuable because you’re busy. You are not more efficient while you are worn out. And you are not teaching healthy mindsets to your children trying to hold yourself up to standards that simply no longer apply in this new era.  Decide that rest is a big part of this new future you get to dictate for yourself.

Face Your Guilt and Forgive

Your own guilt will keep you from far more joy and self-care than any other person or force ever could. It’s time to forgive yourself and decided you are worthy of self-care and rest. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your children.  They are always watching and learning the type of adult they will become from your example. (This meditation by Jack Kornfield for forgiveness is so powerful! https://jackkornfield.com/forgiveness-meditation/)

Put Self-Care Into Practice

You know yourself best. You’ve observed the activities that inspire you and the activities you avoid. When adding self-care into your life, don’t set yourself up to fail! Find things that are doable even on your hardest days! Maybe that’s promising that you’ll breathe for 30 seconds after you drop your kids at school or they get onto their first Zoom call. Maybe that’s promising to stay off social media after you get into bed for the night so that you get more rest. Maybe some days you add bigger self-care acts.
Regardless, create a routine of doing better for yourself no matter how small.

Find Accountability

If you’re anything like me, then it doesn’t matter how small the task is: I will find a way to self-sabotage! Finding accountability can be more powerful than the actual act of self-care itself. An Accountabilibuddy can be your partner, possibly your children, maybe Alexa, or a calendar reminder on your phone. Be it real people or A.I., set up a system to be accountable and possibly even reward yourself. Though, the mindset shift you experience when you learn to respect yourself through rest is quite the reward in itself!

Listen to Your Body

Some days we need more rest than others. You can trust the signs and signals your body is giving you when it’s telling you to rest. Regardless of how well you slept the night before or the extra 5-minute miracle nap you already snuck in, if you need more rest… you need more. You can trust your body to tell you. Having a full six or seven hours of sleep the night before doesn’t exclude you from needing more sleep the next day!
Remember, resting is something built into our DNA. We sleep every day. It’s required to keep our minds and bodies functioning best. Deciding that you aren’t worthy of that is, quite simply, not an option.
Things will always work out, those to-do lists will find a way to be completed at some point, and your children will most enjoy a mom who feels good inside and out.

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