“Hustling” is something that we are all able to do. I work out, I go to work at my day job, I come home and write or take a class, I read self help books and then I do some witchy stuff for my spirit. I love all of those things (Yes including my day job) but even with loving them all, sometimes we all are doing too much. If we stop we consider ourselves failures. We are afraid that if we pause, we will miss out on that one moment, that one crucial step that could lead us in the direction we were destine to go. We wear our exhaustion like a badge of honer. We have stimulants to keep us up and moving. We brag about our insomnia and claim that those that get their 7-8 hours cant possibly be as busy as we, the hustlers, the dreamers, the mothers and the stabilizers are.
We need rest.
Rest is so important. We hear about it all of the time but it’s not always easy to figure out what kind of rest you truly need. Rest is more than just tuning out. Rest is part of emotional honesty. Rest is a return to our true identity and relieves us of the burdens and labels that other people place on us. It is relational vulnerability. It intimacy with our needs and in today’s culture, radically counter culture.
Rest can be in all areas of our lives, ways to shift gears and re-tune ourselves. There are so many different kinds of rest that sometimes we tend to just think that plopping down will do the trick. This is not always the case though.
This is probably the one that we are the most familiar with. Or is it? As familiar as we are with the concept of a good nights sleep, it tends to still fall to the wayside for a lot of people. No person just needs 4 hours of sleep (Something that many claim in college). You need 7-8 hours of sleep a night for your mind and your body to function properly. It doesn’t matter what your age is, how you were raised or what your metabolism/ body type is. Anything less than six hours and you might as well not be sleeping at all.
Ways to help: If you do have problems with physical rest try cutting down on your stimulants like caffeine. Another helpful trick is to develop a bed time routine where you signal to your body that its time to calm down and prepare for rest. I get into pajamas, use a body oil, have a glass of herbal tea and read for the hour before its time to go to bed. Your body is calibrated to react to light triggers. Lower your lights and make sure you have curtains that will darken your space and help you work with your circadian rhythm instead of against it.
This might be a little bit harder to define but think about how you feel after an emotional movie, or after going to a funeral of someone that you knew really well and cared for. Even something like an fight can take an emotional tool on you. You can feel drained, stuck or even trapped. Over time these feelings can do real damage to your health, both physically and mentally.
Ways to help: one of the problems with our culture and emotion is that we tend to bottle it up, which can only make things worse in the future for us and our relationships (Snappish or defensive much?). Find someone that is willing to listen to you, either friend or even therapist. Once you have started to express your emotions….don’t just leave it there. Learn how to vent them before they become exhausting for you again.
The term Cerebral congestion is one that I found super helpful in researching mental rest. Sometimes your brain truly does get full and needs a break to process. You’re sitting at your desk and you have been trying to figure out this F**king spread sheet and why it wont work forever! You can’t figure out why it just wont work! Then you go and do something else, go and get a coffee, listen to a coworkers trashy story from the weekend and just…stop. When you get back, things seem a little bit clearer and for some reason, that spread sheet you have been trying to will the math right on suddenly works. That’s mental exhaustion.
Ways to Help: I am a firm believer that if we take things seriously all the time and are constantly trying to absorb information, everything starts to go in one ear out the other. Sometimes you do need to do something that is completely “Brainless”.
Creatives are not in a constant state of being creative. It is a myth that has caused many painters to stop painting and many writers to be blocked up (As well as every other creative actor out there). We can not be in a constant state of creation. Burn out and blockages are something that people are always trying to “Solve”. As a writer I see a million and one “Cures for writers block” articles on pintrest. The truth is that the only thing that’s going to kick-start creativity is if you don’t feel pressured. Unfortunetly one of the scariest things about loving something is the fear that you are never going to be able to get it back.
Ways to Help: The first thing I have to say is this. Stop putting pressure on yourself. It’s easier said than done I know. But the more you pressure yourself, the more creatively constipated you are going to be. Take a break from what you are trying to do and walk away from it…just for a little while. Do and do something else. Be outside. Go out with friends. Something that it going to take your mind off it. Picking up a new hobby is something that might be a bit more physical always works for me.
The glare of your computer screen gets brighter and brighter, the noises around you become louder. For some reason on the subway this morning, no one wore deo and its 102 degrees. Our senses are powerful and sometimes they can be over whelming. I have a problem with bumping into people in crowds and having too many people touch me. I don’t like concerts that are in doors because its just too much happening in a small space. This is all sensory exhaustion that we need to learn has an actual mental and physical affect on us.
Ways to Help: I wish more then anything that like the other things on this list you could just…not get on the subway or what not. But alot of these things are things that we cant avoid. What we can do though is minimize them. I do not go to indoor concerts because I know how much the lights, the smells and the amounts of people effect me. Know what you are sensitive to. Wear head phones if things are too loud. Wear sunglasses if the light bugs you. Above all though, have a calm space that you can return to that makes you calm down and feel more peaceful. A peaceful place with low light, non invasive music and pleasant smell is the cure for sensory over load.