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Making Rest Guilt-Free 😴

Have you ever been so tired that you knew your body needed rest, but you had to finish that one more thing? Or you knew that people were relying on you, so you put your needs, even for rest, on the back burner? Have you ever been so exhausted that it got to a point when you couldn’t even sleep if you wanted to, and watching TV or scrolling your phone seemed like the best way to relax? 


There’s a whole lot of guilt and even shame about taking care of ourselves. If this is an area that hits home, I want you to know that we have created a whole range of resources, challenges and journal prompts at www.Patreon.com to support you as you learn to honor yourself more. This month’s challenge is about Deep Kindness: first to yourself (so important) and then to those around you – the link is above. But back to this specific topic - In a society that prizes productivity, many people are downright proud that they only need a minimal amount of sleep and can drive hard the rest of the day. They even brag about it. Well, this is a wake-up call to flip the script and to realize that:


1. Rest is not a luxury:

Resting or sleeping is not a luxury you only deserve after completing a task. "It's not about deserving it; you simply need to rest." Do you ever feel that you cannot just rest? This is more widespread than you may know.


2. Sleep cleans the brain:

Sleep hygiene is much more than developing a bedtime routine. Yes, we’ve all heard of habits that support better sleep, like gradually winding down, and removing devices from your bedroom, but if you want your brain to perform, so you can be FULLY present for your life, you NEED to flush out the stress toxins that have accumulated during the day. According to Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, who headed a research study for the National Institute of Health, “We need sleep. It cleans up the brain.” Think of sleep as giving your brain a shower, so it can be fresh enough to carry you through the next day.


3. The ripple effects matter:

The Cleveland Clinic reports that sleep helps prevent high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. A lack of sleep allows a buildup of the stress hormone cortisol, and opens the door to reduced sex drive, rocky relationships, weight issues, and depression. Some studies even link lack of sleep with Alzheimer’s. So why is there this cultural bias that taking rest and sleep is an indulgence? How can we reverse that?


4. Don’t buy into the guilt:

You may have been brought up to think your worth was in your work. That’s a really limited view, but maybe we are expanding our perspective from work ethic to life ethics. What does that mean? You have to take care of yourself so you can be fully present to all of life, rather than sleepwalk towards society’s limited definition of success.  In a world that relies on our willingness to exhaust ourselves to the point where we are depleted, resting can actually be an act of self-care and courage. Whenever you feel guilty about taking a nap or “indulging” in sleep, remember, this is the baseline for your vitality, health, vibrancy, ability to connect to others, and to feel joy – do not compromise your health and wellbeing.


I want to read you a comment from a message we had about this topic, “This resonates hard with me. My sister basically told me I was selfish for taking a weekend to myself this year. I am still getting over her hurtful words on it. She made me feel as though I was not thinking of my family and flat out said, "people don't do that...!" Just because she never allows herself time for self-care as well… She's so consumed by what her kids are doing that she literally never thinks of time for herself. I do, and I need that time to me, but now I feel extreme guilt because she said something, and it has weighed on me ever since. I know I deserve rest and a break but why can't she understand that she really needs one.” Can you relate?


Wonderful comment – your sister is caught in the idea that she’s a good person if she sacrifices for others, even her health. Little does she know, she’s probably more stressed, more easily triggered, and less clear-headed and vibrant because she has not yet thought that she can actually challenge this old way of thinking. Don’t feel guilty because she is entrenched in “people don’t do that.” That’s an antiquated trap that we no longer need to believe – so drop the guilt, you are too smart for that. Create boundaries – what she thinks works for her does not work for you, and that’s OK. Lead by example even if she’s not open to see another perspective. That’s not in your control, but your choices for your own body most definitely are. Celebrate that you are wise enough to see it.

5. Listen to your body:

It is desperately trying to tell you when it is tired, when it needs a break. This is a gift. A funny story – my sister and brother-in-law make fun of me because I have been known to fall asleep in movies or watching TV, and then shake it off and say, “No, I’m good – what did I miss?” They call it “pulling a Randy.” For years I was not listening to my body’s hints at all – so this topic hits home. 


Which leads us to another wonderful comment “I find myself needing to take little naps on workdays more often and I keep wondering what’s wrong with me.” There is nothing wrong with you. You are one of the lucky ones who is listening to your body’s directives – be grateful that you can hear it. So many override these messages, and then wonder why their health or mental clarity is going down. Honor the messages you are receiving!


6. Access your intuition: There are many countries around the globe where siestas are a normal part of the day. We know that power naps can refresh your whole system, and that if you pose a question to your higher self before going to bed, you can often receive an answer in unexpected places – like the shower, on a run, listening to music, or just seeing it on a billboard out of the blue. You are connected to a vast amount of information, and sleep and rest are the conduits to create the bridge.


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