Occasionally I am reminded by fellow coaches that rest is a critical part of the process of growing and running a coaching enterprise. They remind me that “just being” and having time to “just be” is fundamentally necessary. What I don’t tell them is that it’s hilarious that they are reminding me of this because if they had seen me a few years ago they’d realize that my current schedule is SUPER restful and full of “just being” compared to my former life. I agree with them and continue to strive for even more rest and time to be, and then we get to the weekend.
This past weekend that involved sitting in a high school cafeteria with about 200 other parents and elementary and middle school students who are all participating in Destination Imagination (a very cool competition for kids). I was there ALL day. It was really, really, really noisy. It was full to the brim with energy. It was, in no way that was natural and easy for me personally, restful.
I was reminded in that moment of the importance of not defining my “rest” time according to the factory’s schedule. This notion that my rest time or my time to just be should happen on the weekend is both unrealistic and kind of mean. It has a 1950s suburban feel to it this idea – some sort of weird fantasy that never really was in all likelihood: the idea that Saturday would come and the kids would be playing in some creative and wholesome way, the house would be magically spotless and at some points friends may join us for a cookout (someone else would bring the food that requires effort), and we’d all play cards and drink weird cocktails. Yeah, it doesn’t really work for me either, but that idea is there, that the weekend is magic that is supposed to make up for everything else.
A few thoughts occur to me about this little fantasy:
- I could consciously make that Saturday happen.
- I could decide that that fantasy is not what weekends are for.
- I could decide that “just being” or resting once a week or only on the weekends is not a nice way to treat myself.
I am partial to number 3. I like it because it takes the pressure off of the weekend and for a family that includes a soon-to-be minister, a coach who hosts personal development events, and kids who like to participate in things that happen on the weekends, maybe taking the pressure off of what the weekend should do for us is restful in and of itself.
What that means though, taking that pressure off of the weekend, is that I need to be extra conscious about building that time into my days – maybe even my everyday – in chunks of time that are workable. Maybe I could even do this in ways that I make known to my tribe or my colleagues so that they can treat that time as sacred. “Mommy is meditating; shhhh.” “Oh, she always takes a walk during lunch on Thursdays; she’ll be back in the office by 1.”
This has been my approach and I carry it out through a series of practices that I’m still cultivating, but I’ll share in case you need a few ideas.
- I keep a dream journal. When I wake up I try to write down what I remember about any dreams that I had in the night. This allows me to wake up a little more slowly and to forge a little connection to what’s going on in my brain while I’m not paying attention.
- I take a few moments for quiet reflection or prayer in the morning, sometimes before anything else, but on school days more often after the kid hustle and before my own. I sometimes write after this if something comes to me.
- When I feel stuck or overwhelmed or really anything that’s getting in my way, I write it all down. Yes, that’s a lot of writing because I write. Your practices could be something that works for YOU.
- Meditation. If you don’t like that word, follow my friend Martha Beck’s advice and just find a sit spot, a place you can be for a few minutes and notice what’s around you.
- I try to choose (at least some of the time) activities that don’t feel like they block out everything else as much as TV or social media can in the evening, activities that make me feel refreshed or satisfied in a way that digital entertainment sometimes fails to do for me, like reading or working on some music.
- I take daily walks with my dog.
- I keep regular appointments for self-care.
- I am honest when I am sick and really honor that by taking excellent care of myself.
I try to build that rest in all of the time, but I still sometimes crave it on a Saturday when I’m scheduled for a big, loud, crowded activity. What can I do then? I’ve found three strategies that are particularly helpful:
- closing my eyes for a second and taking a DEEP breath – letting all of the noise sort of become one background noise, a hum. Remembering to take care of my needs.
- engaging fully in what’s going on. I sometimes resist the energy level and the noise and it just makes me more uncomfortable. When I can find a way to engage WITH it, I tend to feel better and more satisfied.
- finding a way to take a break. When the kids at our competition got to the Dance Party in the gym part of the day, I lasted about 10 minutes before I requested the car keys from my husband and went to take a nap until the awards ceremony. It was delicious. The other Moms who were there solo simply asked one another to keep watch while they took short breaks. And nobody minded. We ALL needed a little time.
What are you asking of your weekend? Are you saving up all of your self-kindness for Saturday only to find that Saturday’s schedule is grueling? Maybe it’s time to adjust your thinking AND your calendar. I think you deserve to feel better a little more often, don’t you?
If the answer is yes, but you can’t imagine how you could possibly have enough time for that, check out my free mini book: 10 Ways to Make Time. It’s got all of my favorite and personally tested strategies for finding more time for the life you actually WANT to live.