Earlier this month I shared a post called Let’s Talk About Work Ethic, Rest, & Guilt. In it I talked about my journey of losing the guilt that had been holding me back so far from truly prioritising my need for rest and wellbeing in my life and my routine.
I shared that as I head into 2016, I was intentionally choosing to embrace a slower season of rest. Coming to this decision has been one of the hardest I’ve had to make since I started my business; intentionally deciding to slow down and make space for rest is so hard when there’s work to be done, bills to be paid, and life to be lived along the way.
But it’s a decision I am so, so glad I made.
If you’re thinking about making space for a season of rest too but you’re afraid it’s counterproductive in your pursuit for an impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable creative life, I want to share with you today what I’m learning so far and encourage you to know that it is possible to rest and thrive in our work at exactly the same time.
1. Define your season of rest
There’s no single right way to embrace a season of rest. It’s yours to define in whatever way it can serve you best in your journey and life right now.
Maybe, like me, you’re on the other side of burnout and you’ve decided it’s time to make some radical change in your approach to life and work if you want to be truly happy, healthy, and fulfilled along the way. Maybe your life circumstances have changed and a season of rest is the best option for you right now. Maybe you’re just fed up of the constant hustle and you want to believe that there’s another way.
You get to define it for yourself. Ask yourself:
- Why am I embracing a season of rest?
- What do I want from this season in my life?
- What values do I want to be guided by in my life right now?
2. Only do what is essential
I have to thank Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism, for not only completely changing my mindset and approach to work, life, and everything else in-between, but also giving me the tools I need to approach life from an Essentialists point of view.
If you haven’t read Essentialism yet, I highly recommend you do. In his book, Greg McKeown encourages us to do less, but better, in our lives. He says:
The best thing about approaching life from an Essentialists point of view is that we get to decide what is essential to us right now. As I headed into my season of rest, here’s what I outlined as essential areas that I wanted to focus on during this time:
- My health, wellbeing, personal relationships, and personal growth
- My clients and the work we do together
- My content and how I show up and share my message online
For me, a season of rest looked like only focusing on that which matters to me most; only focusing on the areas that allow me to truly bring my highest level of contribution to both my work and my life.
Embracing a season of rest was me embracing permission to only do what is essential to me right now - and completely ignore the rest. No more guilt that I can’t do everything (or that I don’t want to do everything), and no more guilt that I am a human being with limited resources that I’m no longer willing to stretch too thin.
So if you want to embrace a season of rest, ask yourself: what is essential to me right now in my work and my life? Where do I want to channel my energy, my focus, and my time?
3. Rest is a mindset
This has been one of the biggest lessons of all: rest isn’t always just something we do. Sometime’s, it’s most powerful when we embrace it is a state of mind.
In my current season of rest, I still have a full time business to run, a home to take care of, a relationship to nourish, and friends and family to make time for too. I still have bills to be paid, responsibilities to be met, and a life that needs my full attention. But I also have a mind that needs nurturing, a body that needs rest, and creativity that needs space to play, explore, and grow.
Somedays, thanks to embracing the power of saying “no” to the things that are not essential right now, I do find myself with more time available to me than I had when I was just living a non-essential kind of life. But on other days I still have a full schedule of client work, business tasks that need my attention, and time with loved ones too. I didn’t know or understand before now that a season of rest could still look like this.
Because, for my life right now, rest is a mindset. It’s about approaching life in a slower, less frantic, more intentional way. It’s about consciously making my way through life, instead of going wherever other people’s priorities take me. It’s about actively making space for rest in my schedule, but also taking a restful spirit with me in my work and my personal life, in the hopes that I can do less, but better, in both.
Even on the busiest of days, rest is possible when we embrace it as a state of mind instead of always just something that we do. And I've found by doing that, I'm plagued with less guilt when I decide to slow down, take it easy, and make space for active rest too.
4. Take it a day at a time
Changing our approach to rest, making space for it in our lives, and interrupting our usual routines to make space for one that can hopefully serve us better isn’t easy. We can fall back into old habits, we can forget to be mindful and intentional, and we may find ourselves saying yes to things when, really, we wanted to say no.
All we have to do is take it one day at a time, and practice compassion and patience every step of the way. Change isn’t easy, embracing a new approach to life isn’t something we can just make happen over night. Change happens when we’re willing to keep going even when it’s challenging along the way.
So just take it one day at a time. Somedays I fall back into old habits and find myself prioritising the non-essentials and embracing a frantic and rushed state of mind. I just have to slow down, forgive myself, and go back to the core values and intentions that I want to prioritise for this season of my life right now.
Embracing a season of rest is definitely easier said than done, and there are times in our lives when a season of intentional hustle can serve us so much more. But if you’re aching for a slower, more restful, season right now but you’re afraid you can’t with all the work that needs to be done, bills that need to be paid, and life that needs to be lived, I want to encourage you today to know that it’s possible.
I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below: have you ever embraced a season rest? If not, do you want to? And if so, what’s holding you back?
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