December is a busy month. And it gets dark so early! I have seen multiple social media posts that say, “It is only 7:45pm, Can I go to bed now? Asking for a friend.” People are tired and yet they push themselves.
When I was still seeing clients, I had some come to our session so keyed up that they could not sort out their thoughts. I took a slow breath, and noticed out loud that they seemed to be moving in fast forward. They looked at me in a panic and said YES! I suggested we take 10 minutes to not solve any problems. Most agreed. I then asked, “what would you like to do with 10 minutes for which we have no plans?” A few said they really needed to use the restroom. Many times, we colored. Others just needed to sort themselves out – where did I put my keys? The seam on this sock has been bothering me all day. 10 minutes to do what they needed were just as useful as any therapy I could provide.
Rest is vital to our mental health. Want are some ways to get the rest we need in this season?
One option is to go all out. Call in sick to the world and curl up in a blanket without lecturing yourself about “get up and get going – for crying out loud!” (Or whatever you say to yourself when you turn into your own critic.) Take a day off. The whole day. Rest.
Short of going all out is taking brief moments to simply be. When you are out holiday shopping sit down for a few minutes and let the world swirl by while you rest. During that next zoom meeting take a slow breath and wiggle your toes. No one will know and your toes will be happier. Rather than focus on “when will this meeting be over?” use this time for slow breaths and gentle movement. This allows your body to rest.
Take a mental break: daydream or read a book. If your brain is swirling with all that MUST be done dump all your ideas out to give yourself a chance to take a step back and assess the mess. This allows your brain to rest.
Beauty is everywhere. From random acts of kindness to a stray flower blooming in winter. The pattern of frost on leaves. Find a spot of beauty. Describe it to yourself in detail. Carry that image with you. This allows your spirit to rest.
Energize and Connect
Is that Christmas music everywhere getting to you? Change the channel and choose music you enjoy, or silence. If you are loving the music, crank it up and dance. Resting doesn’t always mean sitting or lying down. Dancing to your favorite tune can give you more energy.
Invite someone to rest with you. I am imagining a holiday party in which you might invoke “scruffy hospitality.” The house isn’t perfect but you did clean the bathroom – friends come as they are and you will eat store bought cookies and visit. This allows you and your friends to rest together.
In this darker time of year, we all need a little more rest. There are many ways to meet this need. When you notice that you need a break, take some time to try out one of the options listed above or come up with your own. Share your holiday resting ideas with us on facebook.