As we move into the end of year period, it seems like there is a pull towards a collective pause, or a slowing down, that is in tension with the constant motion of our lives. It can be easy, with how invested we are in our work, to fall into a sense of urgency that doesn’t allow for that slow-down, and the rest that comes with it.
With this, we call ourselves to think about what it means to work purposefully. Naming that purposeful work includes both the time that we spend actively on our work, and the time in between that we need to rest and restore ourselves. If you ask an athlete or an artist, you’ll hear that constant pushing with no rest leaves us worse off than when we started. Our bodies and minds need rest, yet the constant sense of urgency creeps in anyways.
Practicing rest can be difficult! We constantly receive messages that there is always something we must be doing. We could even find checklists of things to do during times of rest if we looked for them!
Rest may even be frightening, because with rest comes a chance to reflect. Reflection might remind us of the things we have been too busy to think about. In times of reflection, we might fear that we will judge ourselves for things we didn’t do, or didn’t do well. Or we may fear that in times of reflection, we notice that our relationships may not feel whole, or the way we are living doesn’t align with our own values. We may notice that we are holding grief for loved ones or having to process loss.
Reflection can also be a time to notice, in a loving way, how we are doing and moving in the world, noticing where we feel energized or fulfilled. Reflection allows us to hear what our bodies and minds are trying to tell us. In a culture where we receive messages about how urgent it is to do everything right, it can be intimidating to reflect on ourselves, and to really receive all that we notice. It can even feel strange to pause long enough to be fully aware of and celebrate our own accomplishments!
Love is such an important piece of practicing rest and reflection. Offering ourselves love and grace when we reflect, and connecting with others in a loving way, can remind us that we don’t need to be perfect to show up. It leads us to wonder, what does this love for ourselves and those around us look like for us? How can we leverage our ability to embrace love as a way of both connection to others and an allowance to take care of ourselves?
While rest is important all the time, this time of year may show up to folx as a natural time to practice resting in a more intentional way. What does that look like for you? What does it look like to hold reflection of our accomplishments alongside the things that make us uncomfortable? What does it look like to hold that whole reflection of ourselves in a loving way? What care, rest, and connection do we need in that reflection that will allow us to grow into next year?
As we ask ourselves these questions, we too invite you to do the same. We invite you to think about what it means to rest, reflect, and prioritize being well.