I woke up this morning feeling more exhausted than I’ve been in months. Perhaps it’s from finally letting my guard down after several hard weeks, or just too many days in a row of running around, but my body is done. I went to the grocery store this morning and literally crashed my shopping cart in every special arrangement of crackers and organic dish soap that the employees so nicely and precariously stacked in the center of the aisles. The real challenge was the epic tower of toilet paper rolls, already half knocked over that I knew would be the end of me. I decided against that aisle. This was also in the yuppy part of town, so I felt like all the little rich ladies in their Lululemon outfits, shopping for cinnamon scented centerpieces, were watching me careen into the stacks of sale items with delight. By the time I made it to the cashier, and made her listen to how sleepy I was, I decided I needed to put myself back to bed.
Too tired to sleep
I am notoriously terrible at letting myself rest. Usually, I run at full force for several months until I hit a day like today. It’s been an eventful several months – the move to Montclair, my new job, the growth of this blog, and just a general new outlook on where I am headed. It’s great. On the other hand, it took a solid five months to feel like we could spend a dime without guilt. And Friday marked the long-awaited day where our meticulous budget finally stated that we had caught up. We went out yesterday and had dinner in the city for the first time since we moved. A real dinner- one where you don’t look at the clock or have a heart attack over the prices of the appetizers. No we didn’t go wild or anything, but we had a long, Italian, “let’s get dessert” kind of meal. And it was glorious. I felt like we had made it to the end of the race. My body feels a bit different.
After the grocery store fiasco, I laid in bed for two hours, incapable of getting my mind off everything that was still on my things-to-do list. I have a poster to design, a book to read, a play outline to complete, a blog post to write. I had planned to vacuum, to go for a run, to finally weed the garden. And yet I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even sleep.
The stigma of rest
The other night, I had a dream that I was being chased by a giant Indiana-Jones-esque boulder. Every time I tried to relax, a giant boulder would roll up the driveway of this dream house and threaten to attack the everyone inside. It seemed to have some sort of tracking system. Also, Bush was on the radio talking to the country about how to deal with the boulders. Apparently it was a national problem, and he was still our president- both adding to the nightmare. Either way, while I laid in bed today thinking about my list, I felt like the boulders were chasing me again. As if the moment I let me guard down and actually just took a nap, I might be squashed by one of my forgotten tasks.
Luckily, I came across this Elephant Journal Article, that brought me back to earth a bit. It was perfectly timed and allowed me to think about “rest” a little bit differently. Because no matter how hard I try, I am never going to be great at sleeping through the day or watching the hours pass while binge watching Gilmore Girls. My guilt is a powerful thing.
So I began thinking about what actually feels restful to me:
- Writing- hence this blog post
- Cleaning the floors- weird, I know, but for some reason I feel much better about the world after sweeping
- Making soup- currently in the slow cooker. I was so sleepy, I’m even following a recipe!
I am currently sitting on our side porch, writing this and watching the bubbles float by that our 8-year old neighbor is making in the next backyard. Our soup has another two hours and the floors are clean. I still feel like I’ve been hit by a truck, but I’m much happier taking in this chilly calming day outside than laying in bed feeling like my list will is waiting for me as I get up.
My point? I think it’s important to find your specific way of resting. If all our other daily activities are unique to our personalities, then our methods of rejuvenation can be as well. The important thing is to strike the balance between rest and nourishment. If a Gilmore Girls binge-fest is what brings you back to life, then that’s important. For others, it’s chopping vegetables and setting up shop in the porch with tea, a blanket and a blog.
Our things to do list will be there tomorrow. Without rest, those things will only be done poorly anyway. And after a day of rejuvenation, they will look much less like boulders.