A couple weeks ago, I felt totally off my game. It started with a developing zit that began to form on my chin — you know the type, where no one else can see it, but you feel the pressure and know that it will erupt like a volcano in the next 24 hours. Later in the evening, I caught myself scrolling through Instagram and having negative thoughts (I thought I was so over that), and that night, Henry woke up at 2am and I struggled to fall back to sleep for the next few hours. In the morning, I felt blurry and bloated — and also battled a case of mom guilt for getting the kids to school just after the tardy bell rang. It was the grown-up version of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, and suffice it to say that I was not feeling good.
Yes, life happens, and I get that these are all first-world problems. But I also believe in the pursuit of feeling our best, and during those times when everything in our lives feels like a struggle, we’re just not able to show up as the women we want to be.
All too often, that struggle comes when we’re so busy being productive, checking our calendars, getting things done, and chasing perfection that we forget to rest. We accomplish everything on our to-do lists, but there’s no time left to get restored.
There’s a lot of talk these days about self-care, and while I’m a fan of massages and jade rolling, I think the real meaning is so much simpler. It’s making a commitment to relaxing and restoring our energy. It’s being okay with not being productive all the time: breathing deep, taking a nap, staying in the bathtub longer than is necessary, sitting with a cup of tea, walking in nature (not power walking), watching our kids play and really seeing them. Although these are all things that should feel easy and good, I’m the first to admit that when we’re used to operating at high speeds, it can be tough to transition into a slower way of being.
I’m currently reading Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein, and here is something I underlined:
“I can tell I’m out of alignment because I become focused on outside goals and objectives as opposed to the joy of life.”
In my experience, rest is one of the fastest ways we can get ourselves back into alignment, especially if we’ve been running ourselves ragged or not taking care of ourselves by getting enough sleep, moving our bodies, or eating right. And guess what, friends? Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to fully embrace an attitude of rest. Yes, there may be cooking to do, a house to clean, or holiday memories to be made, but on this long weekend, you can absolutely make room to restore your energy and your spirit. Here are a few ways I’m doing it myself (and like a true Type-A, they’re going on my calendar):
Spend time in nature.
Taking a hike in the woods, strolling peacefully through a park, staring at the ocean or a desert vista: these moments when we’re communing with nature are powerfully healing to our souls. This works best if it’s done in tandem with a technology unplug, which has a magical way of drawing us out of life’s everyday stresses and back into our bodies. Breathe deep, notice the changing leaves, bring a kid along who will see every acorn and bug as something awe-inducing.
Take a long bath.
Nothing makes me feel more soothed than sinking into a really hot tub, closing my eyes, and zoning out. Sometimes I add a few drops of lavender essential oil or a cup of Epsom salts to up the spa vibes. I used to bring my phone into the bath with me so I could read a book, but inevitably an alert would pop up and before I knew it, I was answering DM’s on Instagram. Not relaxing.
Create a womb space.
Stay with me on this one. In Habib Sadeghi’s The Clarity Cleanse, he talks about how the silence and solitude inside our mother’s womb primed us to crave a healing, nourishing space of our own. But most of us don’t have a place where we can go to relax and recharge. He says,
“Creating a womb — a time and place that’s just for us — is an essential way to nourish our souls, process emotions, and experience spiritual growth.”
For me, this means settling into my favorite chair first thing in the morning, sipping my coffee, reading something inspiring, and focusing on slow, cleansing breaths to bring me into balance for the day.
Listen to music.
Music has been proven time and again to have an incredible effect on our physicality. It brings us into the moment, lifts us out of anxious thoughts, and can even give us a feeling of transcendence. Play great music while you cook the Thanksgiving meal as a reminder to enjoy the process. Take 5 minutes to lay on your bed, eyes closed, and listen to a song you love. And of course, there’s nothing like an impromptu dance party with family or friends to remind you that, no matter what’s going on, there’s always time for fun.
Chill and do nothing.
Since this is the hardest one for me to “do,” it’s likely the most important. I’m a chronic multitasker who usually feels the need to do my foam rolling while I’m watching a movie, wash dishes while I’m chatting with Adam, and gua sha while I’m drinking my morning coffee. For me, the ultimate in rest is sitting still and actually doing only one thing at a time, whether that be talking to my mom, sitting in front of the fire, or eating a snack. It’s a total brain detox, and I’m here for it.
My hope for all of us this weekend is to fully feel joy. To allow ourselves to stop striving and start resting. And no matter how tired or busy we might be, to reawaken the vibrance that lives inside each of us when we make room for what feeds our soul.
How do you carve out time for rest during the holidays?