Today, here, now, I invite you to Slow Down and Rest.
As you read this, join me in taking a large, deep breath into your belly. Hold it for a moment, then exhale as slowly and long as you can.
Repeat this a few times, and notice how much more centred, present, and grounded you feel.
This time of year, to me, feels like a flurry of deadlines, hard stops, cut-offs, all in the name of “by Christmas” or “before the end of the year”. And while I LOVE this time of year for the opportunities for reflection, and the gentle push to complete things to make way for the clean slate of a new year, I do also wonder about whether we sacrifice too much of ourselves in the pursuit of “done”.
Regardless of the pressures of this time of year, here’s what I know to be true:
We can always make time to rest, and it is not a luxury, it is essential. We cannot function properly at our best without adequate quality sleep and rest.
Coffee, as much as I LOVE the beverage, is not a substitute for hours in bed asleep. (Much to my disdain!)
But what does good sleep actually look like? And how do we set ourselves up for the highest quality of restful sleep every night?
Funny you should ask that. As part of my “Revisited” series of podcast episodes, this week we return to one of my most popular podcasts:
While it may appear, on the surface, to be an endorsement of slacker mentality, or an expression of a long-held desire to be chronically lazy, it is instead a call to turn inward and give ourselves the rest and nourishment of sleep that we ALL need.
I go into my own sleep routine, and all the tips and lessons I learned when I had chronically bad sleep, and as a result bad physical, emotional and mental health. I share the way I turned my sleep around, and what made my life feel at first bearable, and then subsequently an absolute joy again.
I became almost fanatical about my sleep schedule, and it has taken me many years to know myself well enough to “fudge” things here and there. But I have to say that when we are already depleted (*coughpandemiccough*) our need for quality rest is even higher than normal… and yet many of us find ourselves burning the candle at both ends even more right now.
So, now, I must ask you a powerful question. And I invite you to be FULLY HONEST with yourself, in the privacy of your own brain:
Are you giving yourself permission, time, and space to fully and deeply rest and restore yourself?
If the answer is NO, firstly know there is no judgement here. Allow yourself to be curious. And then consider this next question, again being fully honest with yourself:
What is this lack of rest costing you in your life?
In your work? In your relationships? In your experiences of joy, play, fun, happiness, satisfaction? In your creativity and fulfilment?
As always, I am sending you love, gratitude, and peace as we wrap up this year.
May you give yourself time to rest, deeply and long,
This is my last article for 2021.
I’m taking some downtime with my wife and kids, and will be back with you in the middle of January. Have a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may you enjoy plenty of quality time to rest and spend time with your loved ones.