Mandatory Rest - Baby Steps in High Heels

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mandatory Rest

Last week, I had a minor surgery, nothing major, but the doctor required 2 days of mandatory rest. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw my post by 9:00 a.m. the second day. I was bored. I had organized our junk drawer, charged all the devices, and caught up on This is Us. As a busy, working mom, I'm used to being on the go. All. the. time.

I had no idea what to do with myself under a mandatory rest order. So, of course, I gave myself bigger tasks. I decided to organize my closet, which wore me out pretty quickly. I realized that my body did, indeed, need to rest. So I sent myself back to the couch and stayed there for the next 3 hours. {Thank you, Netflix.}

I found it incredibly difficult to rest, to relax, to essentially do nothing. In spite of the fact that I am constantly yearning for the ability, the time, to do this very thing ... I realized that I just didn't know how. Sure, I can unwind on a beach vacation or a night out with the girls, but those things have purpose. It took me a couple of hours into Day 2 to realize that this doctor-ordered rest also had a purpose. {Go ahead, shake your head at me.}

Once I gave in, though, I began to understand that this was actually going to be beneficial to me in more than just a physical-recovery way. As I sat on my sofa, binge watching junk TV (and, yes, after I learned my lesson trying to do too much), I decided that I would not allow myself to complete any obligations for the duration of my 48 hours. My kids were covered -- thanks mom! I didn't need to make dinner. I was taking 16 hours of accumulated sick leave that I virtually never take. All of my bases were covered. I literally had no reason not to rest.

It was hard to allow all of that to sink in, but I learned a few things from this experience that I hope to carry forward in this year as I journey toward more balance and peace ...

1. Mandatory Rest should be, well, mandatory. And often. Do not allow yourself to take care of any obligatory tasks in this timeframe. Our priest shared a quote with us last Sunday From St. Francis de Sales: Half an hour's meditation each day is ESSENTIAL, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is NEEDED. I'm not sure I can swing a full hour every single day, but the sentiment rings so very true in my life.

2. You must schedule it. I would have never done this without doctor's orders. Never. Now, I'm putting it on my calendar quarterly - one day at the end of my sales season, one day somewhere in Q3, and a fourth day amidst hectic end-of-year holidays. Whatever your schedule is, put it on your calendar ... an hour once a week, a day once a month, whatever works for you. I came out of this time period refreshed, with a clear head, and with a lot less stress.

If all else fails, schedule it on our lunch break. Take a true break, no working lunches, no double duty mom tasks. Just eat. That's what I did today .... see below for the very best 18-minute non-working-lunch mandatory rest break ...

{It was brief, but delightful. I had no idea how refreshing a short amount of time could be if I embraced it fully as an opportunity for rest. 
3. Mandatory rest is NOT selfish. I know. I know. It's hard as moms to prioritize ourselves. Especially when society tells us that we spend enough time on ourselves by choosing to work outside of the home. {That's crap, by the way.} Taking care of ourselves is the first, most essential step in taking care of those around us. I don't know why this pill is so difficult to swallow, but it really is. Grab yourself a big glass of water and swallow it anyway. Then schedule your time. You will be so glad you did, as will your family.

I'm not an expert here. Obviously. I'm just getting started on this self-care train. But, I do know one thing ... nobody will do it for me. If I want to achieve a more peaceful existence, if I want to stop feeling like the world around me is dragging me through life, then I have to design my life the way that I want it to be. And, y'all, I want to live a life I love. I want to wake up joyful, not overwhelmed. I want to embrace my work, my family, everything, with joy rather than exhaustion.

Step One: Live intentionally by taking care of myself first.

Are you also working toward better self care? Share your journey with us! I'm just taking baby steps over here .... and I'd love for you to join me.

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