Why is rest important? How can you incorporate more rest into our day? What does rest look and feel like to you?
Rest is something that is often overlooked even when it’s planned. Chasing rest can feel like a never-ending cycle which causes you to feel more exhausted. Giving yourself grace and taking a break to rest is something we need to incorporate into our everyday lives.
Recently, I took a month off from recording new episodes for this podcast and creating new content all together. I knew I needed rest but what I didn’t understand was what was I taking a break from? What does rest look like to me?
Yes, it was amazing to not be on social media or creating new content but I still didn’t feel relaxed and rested. I thought taking a break was going to fix all my problems. But I realized I was burnt out. I realized I was experiencing decision fatigue. Even though I was taking a “break” from putting out new content, I was still holding space for making decisions instead of communicating my boundaries to other people in my life that support me.
Understanding what you’re taking a break from will help you feel truly rested and at peace.
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- What does it mean to rest?
- 3 mistakes I made when taking a break to rest
- Ways to incorporate more rest into our daily lives
- How to be intentional about getting the rest you need
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Thank you for tuning into balanced black girl podcast, I am so happy to be sharing the space with you today. It's just you and me. I'm here with a solo episode, we will be bringing interviews back soon. I wanted to talk to you today about rest. And you might be thinking less What is there to talk about, about rest. Let's just do it. to that I say, Yes, I like where your head is that and all for that plan. And if you just want to pause this right now and just go like get some rest take a nap. I fully support your decision. I earlier this year took a bit of a hiatus from content creation, from social media from podcasting, and thought that I was going to just have this blissful month of rest, I just worked one job like a normal person and that I was going to come back and I was going to feel refreshed. And I was going to feel creative. And it was just going to be the solution to all of my problems. And that's not quite what happened.
Yes, I spent a lot less time on my phone in the month of February, which was nice. And I had a bit more time to myself because I was not recording podcast interviews at the time and coordinating and things of that nature. And it was nice to have a little bit more time to myself as I was still adjusting from having a pretty eventful January, personally. However, I realized that I couldn't wave a magic wand and suddenly feel rested. I learned that I could get eight hours of sleep, I could have the most pristine night and morning routines. I could have my sleep mask and be hydrated and exercise and journal and do all of those things and still feel exhausted. That is not to discourage you. Because I know over the years on this show, and in a lot of the content that I created, I talk a lot about all of those things. And those are all still great things. And if you do them and they feel good to you keep doing them if you are not currently doing them and you're interested in exploring some of those habits. I highly recommend experimenting and seeing what works for you. However, I learned a really valuable lesson and that was that rest isn't a verb. It's a state of being. Rest is not something that we do necessarily, right like sweet is something that you do sleeping, that's you know, a verb. I think y'all know what I'm trying to say. But resting is something that I needed to seek each and every day. For various reasons. I also had to learn that feeling rested. Now, the time that I'm recording this in 2021 feels very different than being rested in 2020. And it feels very, very different from feeling rested in 2019. And life before that, as we knew it.
Were now over a year into the pandemic and into this weird era. between state that we found ourselves in where we're getting closer to life, that feels a little bit more familiar, things are opening up, and we're starting to see and kind of the outside world take form a little bit more. However, we're still dealing with a lot of unknown, a lot of uncertainty, feeling unsafe, feeling burnt out. And it's a really weird in between space to be in. And I don't have the expectation of myself or anyone else, to be 100%. In fact, I don't think we really know what 100% looks like, or feels like in our current state. Because we've all been put in survival mode, even more so than we were before. And understanding the toll that that takes getting eight hours of sleep one night, doesn't necessarily fix that, or in my case, taking a month off of social media doesn't necessarily fix that. It is a daily, daily reminder and a daily action to check in with ourselves and to check in with one another. So when I was approaching my month off earlier this year, I made some mistakes. And I want to share those mistakes with you. So that if you decide to take any sort of break, or sacred pause, or time where you were really wanting to be intentional about rest, you can avoid the mistakes that I made. So I'm going to go over these three mistakes with you. The first mistake that I made when it came to approaching rest, was not knowing what I needed rest from and potentially taking rest from the wrong thing. So in February of 2021, I took a break from social media creating and reviewing other people's content, I took a break from podcasting, we had replayed some older episodes here on the podcast, so y'all wouldn't forget about me. But I didn't record anything new. And it was good to have less screen time, I acknowledged that it was good to spend less time on my phone, it was good to spend less time on Instagram or on Twitter, or wherever I was spending ridiculous amounts of time on my phone before this break. However, that wasn't necessarily what I personally needed. Rest for. I got about halfway through that month of rest and realize I wasn't feeling more rested at all. Yeah, my screen time had gone down. However, I was still feeling pulled in a million different directions. And I was still experiencing very severe decision fatigue. I still had a lot of people who just needed me or needed my perspective on things or were still relying on me to provide input or support. And I realized what I needed rest from wasn't necessarily social media, it was actually rest from making decisions.
time away from social media is never bad. Social media breaks are necessary. We all need them. However, the fatigue that I was feeling before taking that break wasn't necessarily social media alone. It was actually decision fatigue. I was experiencing a lot of decision fatigue, I make a lot of decisions and correspond with a lot of people on a day to day and right before I took that break, I was moving and with moving I had just 1,000,001 things going on in my apartment even though I love and I'm so grateful for it. When I moved in here Everything was wrong with it. Every appliance was broken every issue that you could imagine I had to deal with. So I was coming off the heels of having such decision fatigue of deciding what to do in my daily life in my personal life and at my job and in my business. That was wearing me down. So taking a break from social media was great from just not seeing a whole lot of what was going on there. But it actually didn't eliminate my need to make a million in one decisions in a day. And I got halfway through the month, and I realized, Oh, that's what I needed rest from. That is what I needed a break from answering questions, I needed a break from people needing me and needing my help and wanting me for things, that's what I need a break from. And when I was able to understand that and put a name to it, then I was able to establish better boundaries for the remainder of the month to really protect myself and protect that sacred pause that I was trying to take. So Mistake number one was not knowing what I needed a rest from. So as you approach a season or a time of rest, although it's always a good season for rest, it's really important to understand or to get to the root of what it is you're struggling with, so that you can better pinpoint what it is you need rest from so that you can actually get the rest you need. Mistake number two was not adequately communicating to the people in my life, about my need for rest, and not sharing with them what role they played in me getting my rest now, me getting rest is up to me, I am an adult, I am a grown woman, I manage my time, it is my responsibility to put those safeguards and those boundaries in place. And people also don't know that they are violating a boundary unless you communicate what that boundary is. And it's a little bit of a different situation, when people are violating an invisible boundary that you never told them about. versus if you have communicated it and they blatantly disrespected, that's just not okay. But I realized I had a pattern of creating these boundaries in my mind that I expected other people to adhere to and then getting an attitude when they violate them.
And then I realized, I never actually shared these boundaries with people, these people actually don't know that they are crossing this line, they don't know that there is a line that I had to get really, really clear on. During that time, at least what that line was and how I could better communicate it to people. Because people in your life who care about you, they should want you to feel rested, they should want you to feel recharged, they shouldn't want you to feel rundown, and if the people in your life are okay with you feeling rundown, then it might be a good time to reevaluate some things. However, when those people do care, and they they do want you to feel whole and rested, they're going to want to play an active role in that. And I made the mistake of not communicating to people in my life, what their role was in me getting my rest, which was a request that I am or am not able to take appropriate ways to get in touch with me, right? Like, if you know me well enough to have my phone number, maybe let's not have a full long conversation in the day of maybe you could call me or maybe you could text me, you know, really communicating that to people and doing so kindly and respectfully and with love. Really, really important. And when I was able to better communicate that I was able to find more rest because I wasn't having people come to me constantly needing things I thought that the virtual barriers that I put up were enough, but it actually did take clear communication. And also if you have not listened to our recent episode on boundaries with Nedra to ob I highly recommend it. She is the boundaries in guru. her new book set boundaries find peace is also wonderful. I'm currently reading it and it is so helpful. So that's just a plug there for another resource on boundaries. Make sure you check out that episode and the book, but really communicating with people what role they play in you being rested, right? What can and can't they come to you for in your period of rest. Get really clear on that. Sit with it and determine what that looks like for you and then communicate it community. Clearly and lovingly, make sure they understand, make sure you clarify. And make sure that people are on board with that so that you have their buy in and so that you can truly, peacefully get the rest you need. Because from my experience, it is really hard to try to take a period of rest or a break from something and to still have people constantly kind of needing things from you in various ways. So that was my mistake. Number two was not communicating to other people in my life, what my period of rest meant, and what support I needed from them to make that so. And my third mistake that I want you to avoid when you are approaching a period of rest is not being really clear on knowing how you feel when you are rested. How do you know when your cup is full? What is your end goal there? How do you want to feel, because for me, I magically thought that February 28, because that was the end of the month, that I was just going to magically turn into a rested unicorn and feel perfectly refreshed to then March 1, tackle the month's worth of tasks that I did not get to the month before. And it did not quite work that way. For me personally, feeling rested, means having space and spaciousness, it doesn't mean saving things until later or having something hanging over my head that I'm going to have to get to later. It means it's handled, I have space. And I can just breathe.
And I just can be right. However, I didn't have a solid idea of that as I was going into my period of rest. And so what ended up happening was, I just was kind of dreading the end of the month, because then I knew I would have to take care of all the things that I hadn't been taking care of all month long. And as someone who lives in her head a lot, that was not necessarily a fun feeling. And I don't recommend it. And I think if I would have been really clear on what rest means to me, before that happened, I probably would have been able to have a better plan or safeguards in place to mitigate that. But rest is going to look different for everyone. Feeling rested, is going to feel different for everyone. Maybe that eight hours of sleep a night is truly all you need, right? Maybe a clear calendar is what you need. Maybe having time for play is what you need. Maybe social time, leaves you feeling rested and rejuvenated for you know, our extroverted friends out there who need their cups filled, you get to decide what rest feels like for you. And you get to decide how you want to feel. I will caution though, we are still in the midst of this pandemic, which you know, I'm not telling you anything you don't know, there. We're all aware. And as I mentioned earlier with understanding that what rested looks like today and may not look how it used to look or feel how it used to feel. This is also why it's really important to give yourself grace, because I was most definitely comparing myself to my 2013 self, which 2013 was a very different time. Not only was that a totally different world, but I know for me, I was like 2324 at that time, you know, a 30 and some change. Now I don't have my 24 year old energy. So me judging myself for not being able to spring out of bed at you know 4:30am and go do a two hour workout like I used to do when I was 24 because that's what made me feel I felt rested enough to do that, then that's not productive now, right? That's not who I am now. That's not the world that I live in now. And I can't hold myself to that standard. And I highly, highly recommend that. you reflect on that for you and figure out what your version of grace looks like what version of yourself are you comparing yourself now to and what steps can you take to have a bit more compassion towards who you are now and where you are now because it is an entirely into tirely different situation. So I really want you to factor that in as you are considering how you approach rest. Now, before I end this episode, I also want to say, the idea of taking a month off super dope. It was cool. Like with my side hustle, I can do that I do still have a nine to five, jail be, won't be taking a month off of that, because that is just not really a thing right now. And for many of you, I know you feel the same whether that is work, maybe for those of you who are parents or caregivers, you're like, yeah, I can't take a month off from being a mom, get it? No, you kind of can't. It's not necessarily realistic to try to shut things down for an extended period of time, at least not currently for a lot of us. So let's think about ways that we can incorporate rest into our daily lives. And what does that look like? Again, when we think of rest as a state of being and not as a verb? That's where it puts a little bit less pressure on quantifying it, right? Because for some people, maybe their schedules make it really hard for them to get eight hours of sleep a night or maybe if you are a parent, or you have little ones, you know, for a while that is really gonna mess with your ability to sleep soundly, right for a full eight hours, or whatever that looks like. So really getting creative with how do we incorporate rest into our day? How do we incorporate rest into our day? What does that look like? Does that look like just having whitespace on your calendar, having time is not booked. I know, we all loved the idea of being booked and busy. But I think those days are simply behind us.
I don't think anybody wants to be booked in busy anymore, right? I want to be responsibly scheduled and have time for leisure. That is what I want outside of being booked in busy. But maybe that's having some blank space on your calendar that is simply free time, right? Maybe that is putting some time setting your away message at work. Even if you're working from home and giving yourself an actual lunch break where you don't look at a screen. That means also don't pull out your phone during that time. Just give your eyes a break. Right going outside staring out the window, whatever that means for you to feel rested, how can you incorporate bits and pieces of that into your day.
And that can come down to the music we listen to like I love man, I love a good pump up. However, that pump up music of the 2000s that reminds me of my youth doesn't really make me feel rested. So unless I'm really trying to pre funk or really about to get into an intense workout. It just doesn't serve me because it doesn't bring me to a state of peace and to a state of feeling rested even when I'm awake. And even as I'm walking through a busy day. So you can define what that means for you. If you follow me on Instagram, you know, I love me a slow jam. That's why I've listened to so many slow jams, because otherwise everything else amps me up too much. I got to keep it chill. Also thinking of rest through your daily tasks through those daily things that you do, right? If you find yourself recalling your to do list for the day, how can you just focus on what you're doing? Just focus on wherever it is that you are. That's the trick that I try to do is if I'm at the sink, washing dishes, and sometimes I'll be replaying something that happened for the day. And then I think what would happen if I just focus on this one thing that is in front of me, right? If I'm in the shower instead of like thinking of 10 things that I didn't do today, what if I'm truly just I'm looking at the soap, I'm looking at the suds, I'm thinking about how I'm cleansing my skin and how I feel just being super present in that moment. Those are ways that we can incorporate arrest into things that we're doing any way. So being super super present can be really, really helpful for incorporating more rest into our days. Even if we don't necessarily have time to sleep longer or do other things. Another way that we can incorporate more rest into our days is to reconsider what we think is productive. Now I am saying this to you, as a recovering perfectionist as a former gold star collector, someone who just found so much value of self through my to do list as sad as it makes me to say. And as much as I don't want to admit that because I want to be a better example than that
it is true.
really learning how to detach from society's idea of productivity and creating my own idea of productivity. tasks on a piece of paper, to me, are not the definition of productivity, because I don't know about you. But there's so many times where I look at my to do list or I'll have all these things that I need to do that are stressing me out, I don't realize that half of them aren't even real. Most of what we spend so much time stressing about is made up these tasks, this stuff that we do all day, are all constructs. Now, I'm not telling you to not do them, like I said, I to have a jlb. And you better believe I'm going to continue to do it and to do what I need to do to, you know, keep these bills paid. However, I have decided to relieve the pressure of how many of those tasks I get done and what I do within those constructs to define how I feel about myself or to keep me up at night. And that is easier said than done. I know it takes so much deconditioning and the peace that comes from that is so worth while. And when we learn how to detach ourselves from those ideas of productivity that are so rooted in trying to get us to perform for things that are not meaningful for us, it can create so much more space for rest, and our days can feel so much more restful. Now as I think about productivity, I've really challenged myself to measure productivity by how full my cup feels. And how we feel as our cups get a bit more empty is going to vary from person to person. For me, I know my cup is full, when I'm able to focus. And when I don't get overwhelmed by small tasks, when I don't get an attitude for no reason. But when I noticed some of those behaviors creeping in, that's when I'm like, okay, I could use a little bit more time, I could be more intentional about filling my cup. And I'm only going to measure my standard of productivity by how full my cup feels. Because for me, feeling burnt out and stressed, feels more unproductive than getting everything done on my to do list. That's my personal definition, I invite you to create your own definition and decide how that feels for you. But when we start really questioning these things that get in the way of us feeling rested, and get in the way of us feeling peaceful. And we start defining that for ourselves. That's when we can find a lot more of that rest and that peace in our daily lives, which is so important. So let's recap what we talked about today. I shared my three mistakes that led me to potentially not having the most restful season of rest that I was hoping for. And those mistakes, were not understanding what I needed rest from not clearly communicating to other people in my life, my boundaries and what support I needed from them in order to feel more rested. And not knowing what rested actually felt like for me, how would I know when I achieved it? So for you, I really encourage you to understand what it is you need rest from to communicate with people in your life that you need rest and what you need from them to help you get there. And to get really clear on how you'll know when you feel rested, understanding how you want to feel and taking time off his incredible social media breaks incredible. And also finding ways to incorporate rest into your daily life even better, because that's what is going to be most sustainable. I really appreciate you joining me for this conversation today about rest. I would love to hear from you about what you're doing for rest. Are you feeling rested? What are some things that you're going to do to help you feel more rested? Go ahead and leave a comment on our latest Instagram post at balanced blacker podcast telling us what's helping you feel rested these days and I look forward to having that conversation with you. Thank you for tuning in to balance black girl.
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