How do we do everything that we believe needs to be done and not burn out?
The weekend was super busy.
Ballet drop off, gymnastics drop off, visiting a friend in hospital, birthday party and dinner party. I was in and out of the car so often, I had empty snack containers lining up in the backseat. I knew it would be a busy weekend – I was fully prepared for the madness – and so it was head down, get it done.
I am a mama, a wife, a friend, a sister and an aunt. And on that weekend, I was embodying all those roles. My nephew was turning two, my friend needed a supportive space, my kids had their important passions. I stepped into it with what I hope was grace and gratitude – this is part of who I am.
A very important part.
But it was busy. And the space for me was limited. Little pockets of peace were there, if I looked for them, and listening to a podcast or a training from the year long course on miracles that I am a part of as I went from location A to location B were little blessings. Something to fill me up, as I filled everyone else up.
I see that these weekends are part of the season I am in, and I never want to complain. I know they pass in a blink of an eye, and I know I am lucky to have the freedom to be there for all of the people I love.
I’m blessed. And I don’t want to complain. But sometimes – the complaining is there. It sneaks up, silently gathering force within me with little thoughts of ‘why me’, and ‘this isn’t fair’, and then… there it is. The angry words. The resentment.
How do we honour all the roles we are living in this time in our life, without losing ourselves in vacuum of giving to others?
Come Monday, I could sense the rumblings of anger, as a broken night sleep tipped me into overwhelm. I could hear that Inner Mean Mama voice began to gain power, and I could see my frustration at every little mess in my house grow. It was coming – the tsunami of ‘why me’. It was time to stop.
So I dropped the kids off, did what I had to, and then stopped. I stopped for an hour that day, but sometimes it’s only 20 minutes. I stopped the emails and the washing and the phone calls. I stopped thinking about work and the house and the budget. I stopped, and I honoured what I needed.
I had a long shower in the middle of the day, covering my body with epsom salts, scrubbing away the leftover emotions from the weekend. I pampered my body with words and oils. I took my time without someone interrupting me.
I then made a cup of tea, sat down on the couch, and had every intention of watching something on Netflix, but then quickly realised – I actually needed sleep. My eyes were stinging, my arms were like lead. It was time to rest.
A quick setting of the alarm for 20 minutes later, and I dropped off to sleep.
I never used to allow myself this space. I have always prioritised doing over being, productivity over rest. I demanded so much from my body and myself that the only way it could get my attention was to scream at me with a thyroid disease, adrenal fatigue, a scarily premature baby. I ignored it all, until I couldn’t anymore. And what I have learnt is this –
we can only be of service to all we love if we also are of service to ourselves.
Now, sometimes, that little giving back to me after giving to everyone else doesn’t happen for weeks. School holidays, times of illness, all of those chaotic times means the blocked out and uninterrupted time to rest myself back to wholeness can be delayed. I’ve had to learn about that, too. Now, if I can see those pockets of time are going to be few and far between, I go to bed when the kids do. Rest comes first. Sleep is my medicine. And so if there’s no room for me during the day, I give it to myself at night.
This is how we rebuild, mamas.
This is the only way we can be the taxi drivers, maths tutors, supportive partners, best friends, awesome aunts and loving daughters we want to be.
We honour rest.
Every single day, there are tiny moments of rest available to us. Even when we’re at work, we can choose to stop, get up from our desks, walk to the window, and look at the outside world for ten seconds. We can bring chai to our offices, and turn that 2pm cup into a mini-ritual.
We can turn off all devices and TV a few nights a week, cover our hands and feet with coconut oil, and crawl into bed to read and rest.
We can choose to notice our breath. The most simple yet powerful tool of all.
I can’t do this life without it anymore. I have discovered, over and over again, that I am not who I want to be without it. And those insidious inner thoughts that tell you that to take time out for a little break? I have a mantra for you to use in those moments:
When I rest, I rise.
Everything still gets done. I promise you, it all still gets done. I am still as productive as I have always been, I just do it in less time. Because when I’m rested, I work better, I think better, I parent better, I love better.
Rest is the answer.