What if part of allowing yourself to rest when you need it requires meeting yourself where you're at and starting with what you might already be doing? You want to work *with* your nervous system and different parts of you *instead of* working against them or trying to 'fix' them. You're not broken. So, there's no needing for fixing. There's only a need to break the cycle of chronic overwhelm that costs you money, relationships, and health.
This requires understanding, meeting yourself where you're at, accessing support, getting curious about where you want to go, and setting yourself up to get there gradually over time. Still, it takes so much intentional effort to overhaul the programming telling you that your Purpose is directly linked to your productivity and/or your performance. It's not. Your Purpose is rooted in your personal power to live the life you're meant to, to connect with those around you, and to amplify your positive impact in your corner of the world.
And... what can you do when you know you can't actually step away because you have to put food on the table? Or when something as 'simple' as taking a nap makes you feel more anxious? Or when taking time to recover away from work just adds to your overwhelm?
Here are 6 questions to consider:
1. What changes for you if you think of rest as more than a passive activity like sleep?
For ideas, you can check out the 7 different types of rest every person needs here.
2. What activities already bring you comfort?
For example, do you already take your dog for a walk, call a friend over lunch, listen to your favourite songs in between meetings, read before bed, play with your cat, drink your tea/coffee in silence in the early morning? Whatever seemingly 'small' activities, which are already part of your every day, represent great starting points to start to expand your definition of rest. Start with where you are and with what you have.
3. What language is the least jarring to your nervous system when talking about rest?
For some people, 'rest' is a stressful concept because your body understands it as a synonym of being still or slowing down. This can bring a lot of discomfort to your nervous system when you need to be moving around all the time and doing things all over the place to feel more settled, for example. For others, it helps to talk about rest as fuel, recharge time, recovery, a step back, balance, training, a break, quiet time, alone time, nourishment, or a pause. Find the concept that helps your jaw, shoulders, throat, and/or belly soften even just a little bit.
4. What are your more natural rhythms?
When it comes to work, for example, are you more of a sprinter who needs to do lots in a short period of time or are you more of a marathoner who can do more over longer periods of time? If you're a sprinter, then your recovery time might take longer since you tend to push harder in a shorter period of time. If you're a marathoner, then your recovery time may be shorter and sprinkled more frequently over a longer period of time. Get to know your own rhythms so that you can tailor your rest pace to your body as frequently as possible.
5. What part of you needs rest the most and what does it need?
I invite you to tune into this question when you catch yourself feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, short-tempered, confused, numb, exhausted, sad, lonely, and/or overstimulated, for example. Different parts of you need different supports at different points in time.
6. Who are the people and what are the places and experiences that help you recharge?
Rest is vital to break the cycle of chronic overwhelm and to practice healthy self-regulation of your nervous system. At the same time, it's vital for safe co-regulation, safe spaces, and positive experiences are vital for your overall well-being and creating a new cycle. Yes, you get hurt in relationships. And. You heal in relationships where you feel physiologically safe. You also heal through disconfirming experiences that can show your nervous system that the situations you're in now are not the same situations as those that harmed you in the first place.
For Executive Coaching support to break the cycle of chronic overwhelm, book a Discovery Call with me today!