This week I’m pleased to have another guest post from Athena Allread, a Reiki Master and Shamanic Practitioner and co-owner of Lanikai Wellness studio.
Do you ever fight the urge to rest?
As a mom of 3, I can identify with that perceived ‘need’ to push through even when all of our internal systems are shutting down. We become like a computer crashing. The computer is begging ‘Please! Put me to sleep. I’m overheating. My insides are whirling!’ and yet we continue. I had a computer tech tell me once that my computer (my actual computer) needed to be turned OFF and that putting it to ‘sleep’ wasn’t the same thing. I had to cultivate a new habit of actually turning my computer off at the end of the day, and not just putting it to sleep. How does this relate to us as moms?
At certain periods of the day our minds need to be turned OFF. During this off time, we need not think about what comes next or all of the other things that are still hanging open. I still shrink at night at the thought of turning my computer off and losing the 18 tabs that I’ve been holding open all day. But there’s something refreshing about pushing that button and releasing myself from all of that. And, trusting and knowing in my heart that when I come back tomorrow or the next day, I will be better able to prioritize where to focus my attention. I’ve adapted a habit of writing down the tabs that I have open… just in case! And in the act of writing them down, I am also letting them go. I’m closing the tabs, shutting the computer OFF, and letting go and allowing for my system to clear and reset.
So there’s the shut off, but than what do we do once we shut our system off? Because most of us moms have the greatest difficulty with the full shut OFF, we have a little work to do to cultivate a habit of actually resting. I often replace the word ‘habit’ with rhythm and feel much more empowered and excited to fall into new ways when I embrace them as a ‘rhythm’.
Here are my top 5 Mindset Shifts to Fall Into A Rhythm And Flow of Rest:
1. Prioritize it!
When we have so many things to do, rest can feel like an unattainable goal. We put it on the backburner because we believe that we must cram as much as we possibly can into our waking hours otherwise our ‘lists’ will continue to grow and pile up. My solution for this is to either #1 – rip the list to shreds or #2 – add ‘rest’ onto that list. If you make a daily list maybe you can add in a 10-15 minute rest period. If you are making a list for the week, decide how much rest you feel you’ll need this week and schedule it in. Make it a priority.
2. Tell your crew what you’re doing!
Articulate to your children, your partner, your colleagues that you are in need of rest and taking some time for it. NO ONE is going to take that away from you except for… your children 🙂 And you can begin to prime them on why this rest time is important for you and they will learn to give you that space. Priming our children to accept and honor our need for rest is giving them permission to accept and honor when they themselves need rest. We can help our children and ourselves to heal and dodge today’s’ tendencies toward anxiety, depression, ADHD, and so much more by teaching them by our own example how to fall into a cycle of rest. Articulate your need for rest. Define for them what rest is for you. Let them define for themselves what rest is for them. Let them see you rest. We mamas that claim time and space for rest are raising a new generation of slowed-down mindfully conscious humans.
Do you know the magic that comes with taking space for rest? Keep reading…
3. Treat rest as medicine…for your mind, soul and for your body
To rest is to stop. Lie down. Put your feet up. If you must rest in your car, than lean your seat back a bit and let your head hang wherever it wants to fall. Close your eyes. If you fall asleep even better. True rest comes from lying down. And here’s where the magic happens. When you stop, you allow for your system to kick into self-regulation mode. In the body, where you may have been experiencing pain or tension or tightness, you’re allowing space for the body to begin to self-regulate and heal itself. In moments of rest you can use visualizations (very powerful tool for healing) to release pain and tension from the body and find momentary, and sometimes prolonged periods of, relief.
In the brain, there are actual chemical processes taking place when you shut off the thinking mind, on a physiological level your limbic system is pumping what I call ‘peace’ hormones throughout the body, bringing balance to areas that have fallen out of balance in response to stress stimuli. And on a spiritual and energetic level, your brain is receiving ‘messages’ from the Divine, your Higher Self, God, Spirit Guides… whatever you have chosen to believe in. You are open to much higher wisdom moving in during your moment of rest. Taking space to rest is creating space for epiphanies, inspirations, solutions, big messages, answers to move in. Rest is sacred so let’s treat it as such.
4. Make rest a sacred practice; create a ritual.
As a shaman I often teach the importance of ritual and sacred space. If you treat your rest period as a sacred practice, it will become easier and easier each day or week to build it into your natural flow. Determine where you have space for rest… Don’t tell me you can’t! Determine how much space you can allocate and give yourself at least 10-15 minutes… if you can give an hour even better! It won’t need to be every day, although every day is lovely. It may be 3 times a week. It may be Monday through Friday nights when you come out of the shower. Find the best spaces within your weekly flow and fill it in. Depending on where it falls in your day and where you will be, determine ‘where’ you will rest. Ideally you will lie down, but if you can’t than clearly set an intention for resting wherever you can in your natural weekly/daily flow. Maybe your ritual becomes to lie on the sofa in your home or office, or to lie on a yoga mat, in your bed and to take a few breaths and close your eyes. Maybe you’ll decide to play a specific kind of music or stay with the quiet and savor it. Maybe you’ll enjoy the idea of lighting a sage or palo santo to lightly smudge and clear energy, or diffuse a lavender or peaceful oil combination. Create your own sacred ritual for rest no matter if it’s 10 minutes or an hour.
5. Learn to love it.
Love your naps and rest periods like you love your favorite dessert. Let these be a source of pleasure for you. It may be difficult at first, because when you lie down you might have thoughts racing through your mind of all of the things that you’ll need to do. Falling into a perfect rhythm of rest will be like attuning yourself to a new type of music. If you’ve been moving to the beat of 80’s rock and suddenly shifting into Mozart, well it’ll take a bit of adjustment. Practice falling in love with rest by climbing into your bed or onto your sofa with a favorite blanket and savoring the feeling of the blanket over you. Wiggle your toes and stretch your body out and savor that moment of freedom of movement. Listen to the quiet and savor the moment of stillness. Smile at yourself for taking this big step. You’ll witness first hand the magic that takes place not only within your body, mind and spirit, but you’ll also witness how this rested ‘You’ shines brighter and has more pleasant interactions with your loves and the outside world. And when you witness this, you will fall deeply in love with the gifts of having fallen into a rhythm of rest.
And there you have it. Take these steps you should take to get into a flow and rhythm of rest. If you find it particularly difficult, sometimes there’s deeper work to be done to help you free yourself of past conditioning, deep seated blocks and limiting beliefs around ideas like rest. And you might benefit from seeing a trusted therapist, coach or healer. There is so much help available when you ask!
Wishing you many beautiful moments of rest and rejuvenation in 2019! Namaste.
If you want to learn more about Athena and her work, check out www.seasideshaman.com.