Rest to recover: Grace Victory on the power of giving yourself a break

Society conditions us to think that we must always keep going, that fortune favours the busy, and to applaud the relentless hustlers. But columnist Grace Victory is here to share the real urgency, and necessity, to cut yourself some slack. This is your rallying call to rest – you deserve it

Recently, I’ve found myself trying to rest, but then immediately telling myself to ‘just’ unload the washing, to ‘just’ put that pile of stuff away, to ‘just’ reply to one last email, to ‘just’ sort out Cyprus’s bag for tomorrow… There’s always just one more thing. My mind tells me to keep going when my body is screaming to just stop.

I think rest is complicated for a lot of us, including myself. It’s not necessarily about feeling as if rest isn’t deserved, but more about believing other things are more important. Or, sometimes, it’s simply the fact that our to-do list is nowhere near finished, and the thought of going to bed to wake up to the shit we ‘should’ve’ done before going to sleep is counter-productive.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe our need to feel productive stops us from being able to slow down. However, if the past two years have taught me anything it’s that resting when needed and when called to do so, is probably one of the most productive things we can do for ourselves.

Within the Western world, we have normalised constantly doing, moving, and working so much that rest, recovery, and rejuvenation is few and far between. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a great example of the state of our society, but things are slowly changing – and rightly so. Our wellbeing is in the gutter, we are more burnt out than ever, and if we aren’t in despair at our government, we are in despair at global crises, and you know what? Something simply has to give.

The grind culture isn’t fulfilling us anymore, and working nine-to-five with little to show for it doesn’t seem as acceptable as it once did. We want more. We deserve more. We’re demanding more, and I’m here for it.

But I also think we deserve a little more love and compassion from ourselves, too. We need to recognise that, actually, sleeping five hours a night, skipping breakfast, and binge drinking on the weekend, is taking its toll, and maybe we need to pause, slow down, and stop filling every waking moment with ‘stuff’. That it’s healthy and empowering to have moments within our lives that are quiet, somewhat boring, and unhurried.

I really recommend reclaiming rest and making it something you actually enjoy, because rest looks different for everyone, and different circumstances will require a different form of relaxing, too! Sometimes you just need to forget about everything and go to sleep. Other times you might only need a break from work, so going on a walk to listen to a podcast with an iced coffee would benefit you better. Maybe it’s a hot bath? Maybe it’s dropping your kids to your parents house so you can hear yourself think. Maybe it’s slobbing out in front of the TV, ordering a pizza, and watching your fave crime show. Maybe it’s literally sitting in silence and deep breathing. The important thing you need to remember is that whatever you’re doing, it should be filling up your cup, not emptying it.

Rest is how we recover, come home to ourselves, and are able to give and be in service – whether that’s showing up for our kids, completing our uni work, or stepping into the office. Without rest we are exhausted, irritable, and unhappy. And look, I know it’s bloody hard sometimes to even get an hour to yourself without someone needing you, or something needing your attention, but what about what you need from you? Giving yourself some downtime, a quiet moment, and a breather, is so much more beneficial than constantly pouring into everyone and everything else.

So this is your sign to just slow down a bit more; take some time off if you can, reset and recharge your batteries, and remember that your to-do list, that pile of washing, and that return text message can wait.

The world will not crumble if you put yourself first sometimes. But you will crumble if everyone else always comes before you.

And with that being said, I’m off to drink a giant glass of water and collapse into bed, because it’s 20:52 and mama needs her rest!

Love Grace x

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