Give Yourself Permission to Rest
Before I begin this post, I would like to give my deepest condolences to those who lost power, sustained damage to their homes and belongings, and/or had to evacuate. My thoughts go out to you and your families as I know that this storm is not yet over for everyone.
I had an impromptu 3-day weekend due to the threat of Hurricane Florence. The thing I've been most considering this weekend is how much time I've simply been able to rest. I have had 3 days where I did not set an alarm, I did not have an endless to do list, and I did not have to leave my house unless I chose to. I was able to be spontaneous - go to Target in the middle of the day, plan a spontaneous dinner/movie night with my parents, bake gluten-free treats, write a blog post. It was extremely empowering. I am very much a yes person in my real life - I love to spend time with friends, serve on a board for clinical social workers, and assist the people I care about when I am able. Much of the time I prioritize everyone else's needs above my own need for rest. And most of the time, I don't feel like I'm making a choice. I don't regret helping the people I love. However, if I constantly am keeping the calendar full, I leave no room for rest or spontaneity.
My friend in grad school used to tease me about how busy I was doing fun activities! I can vividly remember having 3 separate dinner plans for one night - in 3 different cities (Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh)! This night is comical and definitely not my norm, but it is a reminder of how exhausting it can be to make too many plans. I think it's important to realize that by saying no to others, you are really saying yes to yourself. Yes, your sleep is a priority. Yes, it's okay to spend a day on the couch watching all of those movies you've been wanting to see. By giving yourself chunks of time unplanned, you open yourself up to so many possibilities! Now you can do things in the moment because you want to - not because they are penciled in.
The way I plan to put this into practice is to block out a chunk of time each week for the next month where I do not schedule anything. I also plan to be more intentional with my commitments. Is this commitment something that is truly important to me? Or is it just a habit to say yes? I hope to discover ways that saying no is beneficial to my overall stress levels. I can predict that giving myself more time for rest will contribute to higher overall productivity. We will see!
Please comment below and let me know how you prioritize rest and unplanned time for yourself!