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.

About Niki Whiting
  • Ealasaid

    I love this! I take every Sunday as a Day of Rest nowadays (I have actual mental rules about what I can and can’t do, cos otherwise I get tempted by things that aren’t restful), because if I don’t I seem to invariably wind up in bed with a migraine/impending migraine anyway. If I didn’t have a conventional five-days-a-week job, I’d lean toward tying my days off to the moon’s phases like you have, that sounds lovely.

    • myownashram

      So far it’s really taking the pressure off – preventative medicine for the win!

  • Nowell

    That is a fantastic idea. I need to do that. Sadie and I work 7 days most weeks. We have social activities days but not many rest days.

    • myownashram

      Yeah, I still have to work, but the attitude of rest makes a big difference. Sometimes I can take a whole day off, but I’m learning how to take it easy too – still work, but create a day that isn’t as hard. It’s made a HUGE difference for me in only a short period of time.

  • Elaine Parker

    Niki, I need to learn from you on this…. I am SO bad at resting. I have realised that spending time with good friends helps restore me, but I am often at the edge of my capacity. I am learning slowly – I keep free days in my diary…. But thank goodness you are doing this self care, it feels important that you do, and that you are rigorous in the application of it – maybe your lovely man can have some days when you are feeling stronger, or maybe you can have fun together more regularly? Lots of love to you all. xxxxx