Cultivating rest

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned just how bad I am resting. I have a tendency to take on challenges and roll with whatever needs my attention, not realizing when I’m too full up until I’m past the tipping point. That doesn’t work very well, as by that point I’ve gone beyond the need for and my ability to rest and I’m in triage mode. I end up flailing and breaking down, usually in a most inconvenient manner for my partner.

As a parent it can be particularly challenging to find space to rest. The children always need assistance – min aren’t yet old enough to feed or dress themselves entirely, one of them is potty training, and they still seem to take turns waking in the night. My partner and I have a good system overall, and we trade night-time duty so one of us is not completely exhausted.

The last time I hit my wall though, I decided that this needed to stop happening. I decided to institute three days of rest of month. I take these days ‘off’ whether I feel I need to or not. I take off the first day of my period – I’m usually bone tied, feel like the flu is about to hit me, and I don’t want to do anything besides rest and eat. I take off the day of the full moon and the day of the dark moon. Full moons often make me jittery and I can’t focus. The dark moon usually turns me all contemplative and internal.

Of course, I can’t be ‘off’ entirely as these days often fall on work days and my partner needs to work so we can pay the bills. But I don’t plan any activities. I try to have something good to read and/or watch. I plan easy meals to make, or we get some take out. I don’t do any of my usual chores.

What’s wonderful is that we’re only 6 weeks into this new process and I’m already feeling the benefits. This preemptive resting means that I get a mental and physical break. I’ve given myself space to veg out and stop doing – no guilt tripping myself, no shoulds, no apologizing. My entire family is happier; I’m happier! Sure, Adam might have to pick up the slack on those three days, but it’s far, far better than Mama having a melt down. This way he knows when the rest periods are coming and can plan for them. No one can work around a melt down.

That means on tomorrow, the full moon, I’m going make something easy and delicious, not do any chores, read for fun, and carve out some time to sit in my altar room for an extended period of time. I can’t wait.

The Vocabulary of Spiritual Practice, Part 2
What is Paganism? A Resource List
May the First
Playing Catch Up
About Niki Whiting

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