My grandmother has been insanely stressed lately due to her first move in ~40 years and her health took a little dip in the midst of it all.
I asked her, “Why don’t you sit down today and read a book?!”Knowing how much she loves reading.
She chirped back, “Would you believe I haven’t sat down and read a book in weeks?!”
I couldn’t help but laugh, “I do believe it, you’ve had so much going on! I’m trying to help you shift to a rest mindset, just for today. What can you do to rest a little?”
She paused, “You know, everyone just wants to help me, which is so nice, but I don’t want any help! I want to do it myself, but no one will listen. So, when they leave I have to rearrange everything myself. I got all the high-shelf items put away though, so I don’t have so much up and down work anymore.”
Again, I chuckled to myself, “Grandma, when I ask you what you can do for rest, I don’t count not putting boxes in high places as a rest.”
She reassured me that she’s doing fine…
This is what we do. We insist on doing everything ourselves, even when our health suffers. No one knows how to do things the way we do them, just as good as us, right? This is how we're conditioned to feel. We're pushed to go fast and hard all by ourselves for most of our lives, encouraged to slow down in our later years, but by then, we don't know how.
Close your eyes and envision yourself 80 years old, feeling challenged with patience, a need to do everything yourself (cooking, cleaning, holding up the family), and since everyone is used to that, they gladly let you have it without a second thought. With that naturally comes overwhelm, stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. At this point in your life, they're not even a second thought, it's just life.
You have to really want to break the cycle. You have to teach yourself. It has to become a committed practice. There is a learning curve and you will feel like you failed, several times, but it's not a failure! It's you, unlearning all the BS from society and working towards a truly happy and healthy life for yourself. I know it seems counter-productive. How can slowing down actually help you speed up? WebMD Dr. Rick Hicks says that "taking time for yourself has psychological and physical benefits. If you give yourself a break you'll feel refreshed and happier." Our brain gets a reboot, our feel-good neurotransmitters are released and the not-so-feel-good ones get a chance to actually rest.
When I tell people this they are instantly worried they'll become uninspired and turn away from their goals. I like the way Dr. Sherrie Carter from Psychology Today says, "It gives us a better sense of balance and self-awareness that can lead to a better understanding of ourselves--what drives us, what inspires us, what excites us. This, in turn, can have a positive effect not only on the quality of the relationship with yourself but also on the quality of your relationships with others." For your health, happiness, and quality of life to improve, you must learn how to rest! More on exactly how to rest coming (very) soon.