Happy Friday! It’s almost the weekend! Hooray!
Weekends are the best aren’t they? Two whole days off to relax. Maybe you’re going to sleep in... or catch up for lunch with an old friend… and then do some housework and the laundry that has been piling up… then go out for dinner and a movie at night because the last date night you and your partner went on was ages ago.
Okay, so Saturday filled up, I’ll be sure to actually relax on Sunday.
But then Sunday comes along and you wake up, go to church, grab brunch afterwards with your bible study group, then run to the store to do the weekly shopping and meal planning for the week ahead, then you need to just do a little prep for Monday and you end up spending an hour and a half answering email, now its 6 pm, time for Sunday night family dinner and game night. You get home at 9 pm and collapse into bed asking, how did my two days off turn into two days of non stop exhaustion?
Does this story sound familiar to anyone? Because let me tell you, it is one I know all too well.
I’m really, really good at filling my time and staying busy. In fact, I thrive off of it. I see a free day as a challenge to fill with appointments or social engagements. My idea of relaxing on my day off is scheduling a massage and a trip to Old Navy then maybe taking in a movie. At first, all these things sound wonderfully relaxing, especially the massage, but the reality is that its still scheduled and purposeful. What you don’t realize is that I need a massage so I get in better shape for my job. And I need to go to Old Navy for a new audition outfit. And I’m at the movies because I’m trying to accomplish my goal of seeing all the Oscar nominated films. So during all these activities that seem leisurely at first, I’m actually still working in a way.
I need to fill my day with these activities, because if I’m not being productive, I start to feel completely worthless.
If you know about the Enneagram, you’ll know what I mean when I say I’m a type 3. (If you don’t know about the Enneagram, I highly encourage you to research your type. It has answered a lot of questions and given me a lot of insight about myself and I can’t stop talking about it.) My type 3-ness means that my main motivation in life is to achieve greatness and my biggest fear is that if I’m not achieving, then I am not worthy of love.
So that above sentence is literally the quintessential belief of a type 3. “If I’m not being productive, I am worthless.”
Even if you aren’t a crazy type 3 person like me, I feel like this phrase can carry some weight for everyone.
Think about how the world is set up to vilify the idea of resting. Think of how we glorify “workaholism.” Think of how taboo the idea of “laziness” is. Think about how the person at work who comes in early and stays late is considered an exemplary employee. Think of how often the phrase “no days off” is thrown around like its something to strive for.
We celebrate working ourselves to the bone almost like that is what is expected of us. When our boss asks us to work on the weekend, we say yes because we don’t want to disappoint anyone. We show up to the meeting even when we’re feeling sick. And we force ourselves to go out late with friends when all we want to do is go to sleep early, because otherwise we’re missing out.
And hardest of all for me, I pretend to celebrate rest, but in reality, I’m not sure I even know what truly resting feels like. I literally write a blog about celebrating self love and giving yourself compassion, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually listened to the needs of my body and brain and actually gave it a rest. Sure, I have days off, but does that mean I truly have days of rest?
A morning off from work turns into my time to go to the gym and practice my singing for an upcoming audition. A night off turns into me going to dance class or finding a bible study like I’ve been wanting to do. And a full day off turns into the opportunity to go park hoping with a friend and then end the night seeing a show. My free time always turns into working hours or social time.
When you feel like you need to be working every minute of everyday, resting becomes a luxury we don’t feel we deserve.
I’m here to remind you all and myself especially that rest is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.
And I’m talking true, honest to goodness rest. Disconnecting from the world and listening only to yourself and your needs. (Yes, Amanda, that means hanging out with friends, even though it makes you happy, is not truly resting). It’s not selfish to take time off to do absolutely nothing. In fact, doing nothing is a healthy reminder that you are worth more than what you contribute to the world.
When was the last time you can say you actually rested? A day or night or even just a few consecutive hours that you actually took self care to the next level and let your brain and body rest without feeling an ounce of guilt about it? Honestly, for me, I’m not sure.
But hey, life is a journey and I’m stumbling along with everyone else. So for next week, while I’m scheduling my days off with practice and gym time, I’m also going to schedule in some down time. Maybe that will be going to a park and spending some time on a swing set just swinging for an hour because that always makes me feel free and happy. Maybe I’ll go to Disney without my computer and just ride some rollercoasters for fun and not worry about seeing a friend in a show or working on a blog post while I’m there. Maybe I’ll finally take advantage of the fact that there is a pool at my apartment complex and I’ll just float in the water and read my book. There are endless possibilities for how I can rest, now I just need to give myself permission to engage in them without any guilt or reservations.
A few hours here and there, I’m going to prioritize my soul. Not the actor or friend or writer that I am, but the person. The individual who needs rest in order to contribute in the other areas of her life. I’m going to make sure letting her take a break is a priority. I’m going to genuinely try to “give it a rest.”
Now, who is going to join me?