Rewind ten years ago, I was always on the go. I filled my calendar to the brim with commitments and activities. If someone said “can you meet at XYZ time?” and I didn’t already have an appointment on my calendar, I said yes.
Naturally, as anyone who has ever done this experiences, this habit leads to burn out. We cannot go extended periods of time without rest.
Previously, I would go, go, go until I crashed one of two ways.
One reaction was that something really small would upset me so badly I would cry for an hour and then spend the evening in a bubble bath. I never cried or processed my emotions. I never slowed down. So I would run as hard and fast as I could and then every 3-4 months have a total meltdown, take an hour long bath, and then do it all over again.
The other reaction is I would get sick. I had reoccurring colds and every now and then my body would shut all the way down until I had to spend a couple days in bed.
Nowadays, I sense the feeling rising before the crash. Whether it’s stress, overwhelm or fatigue. At the first notice of it, I figure out how to retreat. I haven’t been on bed rest from a cold or illness in literally years. I no longer have emotional breakdowns over the tiny things.
For me, it takes building a little rest time into every single day. Whether it’s my cup of tea before the kids wake up, or sitting on the couch reading a book after they’re asleep, I know I must prioritize quiet time in my day.
Obviously there are seasons where I can’t. I may have a chaotic stretch where I go-go from wake to crashing at the end of the day, but I know it’s not sustainable. If it happens more than two maybe three days in a row I will look at my calendar and find commitments to cancel so I can stay home and recuperate. I would rather miss out on one activity of a couple hours than days or a week of commitments.
Building rest into every day, even if all I get is 15 or 30 minutes, is an essential part of my routine.