I’ve often heard the quip about learning to rest when you are tired and not quitting. The other day I found myself in a flurry of activity, furiously running around, back and forth, distracted by one mess and then another. In this circumstance, rest was the furthest thing from my mind. I felt my body aching because I hadn’t been down to the gym in a while but I had a ton of work to do. I was tired of seeing all the clutter around the house and feeling overwhelmed by what I would do with it. In the middle of organizing and chastising myself for letting things get this way, I remembered the quip about rest. I looked at the piles I was creating around me and realized that all of the stuff that was in the piles had been created because I didn’t want to deal with it in the moment. That’s when it hit me that I haven’t been resting in the proper moments.
What I mean is that I’d been excusing myself from all of the day to day stuff because I felt tired or overwhelmed after working all day and that had created enormous stress and clutter and distraction in my life. Rather than actually creating a sensation of ease in not dealing with it right away, I created stress down the road. The difference between resting and quitting is right there: you can’t give up in the moment because you feel mentally overwhelmed. It’s all a mind game and if we allow the mind to win in the moment, we create additional issues later on. In this case, I have over a year’s worth of information I need to sort through. Yes, there have been a million things going on. Yes, I’ve been balancing (barely) working full time with two side gigs, a 9-5, a child, and a husband, and the animals. But those things are my choices and there are results I genuinely want to see out of it. It gets overwhelming realizing I’ve already created the momentum, but I don’t want to give it up.
Then the other realization hit me. I don’t need to give up any of it—I just need to organize things better. The day can be planned. All of the activities can be addressed (probably with better focus and results) by dedicating time to them in different blocks than through what I’ve been doing. Then I won’t feel so overwhelmed. Then the piles of nonsense won’t build up, whether it is paper or tasks that need to be done. There is a way to take all of the things that need to be done and to create space for it—even rest. For too long rest was my priority. I have always been driven, even if was just in my 9-5 I always strove to be the best so I could prove that I’d earned my time off or my down time. That way when I went home, I could shut down. But all of the things I WANTED to do were neglected as well. I became a really lazy high performer. I know that isn’t the legacy I want to leave behind.
Rather than continue to chastise myself or lament, I’m celebrating the small win of understanding that I can turn this around. Nothing is completely out of my control when it comes to what I bring into the house and what I want to create. This is a fixable situation. There is a time for rest (no, I’m not talking about when I’m dead—I HATE that saying) and I will use it. I honestly think people undervalue rest. For me, I probably took that to an extreme. There is work to be done and it is work I want to do. So I choose to take it on and do so happily. Rest will come. I can move at my own pace. Life doesn’t have to be a series of overwhelm—that’s when we want to give up. Life flows and there are moments of productivity and moments to recharge. I’m ready to flow.