Vacations are wonderful things.
Can we all just agree on this one fact? Everyone loves a good vacation.
But not everyone has the time—or the money—to take that week off, or buy that plane ticket.
Been there? I have. Some months, rest is much easier to fantasize about than it is to actually accomplish.
Writer, I am there right now.
This last week has been a tough one. I spent a lot of time working, a lot of time stressing, and way too much time telling myself that I would get to the self-care things later when I ‘had more time’.
Except I never did end up having more time. And the week didn’t end with a weekend to myself and time to recenter. Instead, it went straight through the weekend and blasted into another week without a pause.
With no time for vacations, very little for self-care, and schedules that refuse to pause, rest probably feels as impossible to you as it did to me on Monday morning. I knew I needed it, and I also knew that I definitely didn’t have time for it.
But I also knew if I tried to charge ahead without it, I was going to crumble. I know myself, I know my limits, and I know when I’ve reached them. I can drive myself into the floor and ignore my need to refuel for the sake of my pride, but if I do I will spend weeks picking up the pieces.
To me, it isn’t worth it.
So this week is about rest. In the midst of schedules.
Because I still have to go to work, I still have to write, I still have to tackle my to-do list, and I still have to be present. Writer, I am convinced that both are possible. Here are five ways that I intend to rest in the midst of my schedule this week.
I am a Christian, and for me, there is only one person who can offer the rest that I need so badly this week. So I will be spending time—while I am working, and during my free time—with the One who made me and knows best what I need.
Other alternatives might be meditation, yoga in the mornings before work, or a walk if you have an hour or so free. Anything to still your mind and your soul and give you a bit of breathing space.
2) Practice intentionality.
For me, that means less time on my phone, more time with a book in the evenings. It means a cup of tea and a workout in the mornings. It means candles instead of ceiling lights, and gentle music at my desk while I plow through projects.
Intentionality is being kind to yourself, kind enough to keep track of your water intake and have a few extra glasses if you’re short. Kind enough to wear your favorite socks to work, or put a little extra effort into your hair and makeup. Kind enough to allow yourself to be a priority, instead of making your to-do list king.
Believe me, your to-do list will feel a lot easier to conquer when you yourself are taken care of and feel loved.
3) Change my mindset.
I have a terrible habit. When I am stressed, I go into survival mode. Nothing really matters but getting through. Not my diet, not how much time I waste on my phone with social media and YouTube, not whether my laundry is done or my house is clean.
My plan is to ‘get to the end’, and until I do, I don’t really care.
The trouble is, sometimes there really isn’t an end. Life goes on, and I end up bumping along behind it, dragged because I couldn’t quite get myself together enough to run alongside.
Writer, there is no end coming. This is it. So it does matter that I haven’t done squats in 37 days. It does matter that my water consumption has dwindled to a cup of black tea and that sip I had this morning before I left the house. It does matter that I haven’t taken my vitamins this week, even though I know what that does to my sanity.
Writer, your life matters. Build the one you want, even amidst the mess and hurry.
4) Stop justifying myself.
I don’t need to explain why I’m tired. I don’t need a list of finished tasks and a certain number of written words to justify being allowed to read a book, or take a break.
I don’t need someone else to give me permission to rest.
I’m terrible at this. I spend way too much time comparing myself to others and working to justify why I’m so tired, why I need a break and a week of rest amid my schedule, and why my to-do list is long enough to prove that I’m an adult. In fact, I spend so much time trying to justify it that I forget that no one is actually questioning why I’m tired.
So this week, I’m going not going to come up with excuses, or reasons, or justifications. I’m going to rest, I’m going to have grace for myself, and I’m going to be okay with not always being at the top of my game.
5) Enjoy the moments.
Writer, there is no hurry. Life will go on, and if you are in a rush to get to tomorrow, you will miss today.
Quit the rush.
Take the time to read for a few minutes during lunch break. Choose to enjoy your commute instead of grumbling about the traffic. Turn on some music while you finish that last project, or find an ambiance you like while you’re doing dishes. Play with the dog for a few minutes when you walk in the door, or boop your cat on the nose for me.
Life is going to move on, writer, and it will always feel like it is rushing past. It won’t get easier once you get married, or get that one job, or have a certain amount of money. But maybe—maybe it will get a little easier once we remember to stop and enjoy the moments.
That’s my task for this week. I challenge you to make it yours, as well!
Good luck, dearest writer! May your tea be hot and your dreams wild.