Hi. It's Sylvia.
It's really late on a Tuesday. I'm sure you've been waiting for this email on pins and needles... But right now, I'm feeling like Audrey Hepburn in that famous shot of her standing still in the rushed motion blur of the Breakfast at Tiffany's party. Except in my version, I'm way more tired, and way less glamorous. And up until this moment, I'vebeen one of the blurry people, because sitting down to write an email right now feels like the first time I've sat down all day.
Why does it make perfect sense to fill up the gas tank in order to make our car run, but we are so willing to push ourselves way past Empty, and still get so impatient when our performance level and results go down?
Have you ever sat down with the intention to "check out" of life for a second, just to take a quick break before resuming your mile-long to do list... But then when you "come to," you realize you've been scrolling on Instagram for 45 minutes? Or you've eaten a whole tub of ice cream? Or you've watched an entire show about a fabulous cashmere sweater on the QVC channel?
What if I told you that what you really needed instead was REST?
The reason people "check out" of life is that they don't have the available bandwidth to handle the sensory input or to generate the necessary output required at that time. Since REST is such a bad word in today's hustle culture, it makes sense that most of us are programmed to fill the void with a mindless activity instead.
Let's jump into this week's question:
Q. What are some ways to work in a quick reboot, when I don't have the option to take the afternoon off and go get a massage?
A. Everybody talks about yoga and meditation as the top two staples in a self-care toolbox, especially here in LA (and with good reason). But here's the thing, what works for one person might not work for the next, and what you need might change from one day to the next, too. The trick is to figure out what works for you right now.
Here's a quick acronym to help you fast track and get back into your day: R. E. S. T.
R - REFUEL - If you pulled over to make a real pitstop with a real pit crew, what would you ask for? Do you need food? Water? A friend to watch the kid for an hour?
Ask yourself, What do I absolutely need first, right now? Do that.
E - ENERGY MATCH - Take 2-5 minutes to match your physical surroundings to where you're at on the inside - your inner emotion and energy level. You might listen to music. Flail around. Use a crayon to color exactly how you're feeling. Melt into your chair couch and close your eyes while you breathe, or cry. Whatever. Do something with your body that matches where you're at right now, without trying to change it. If you give yourself a couple minutes to just be where you are, I promise that you'll be able to bounce back way faster than if you try to barrel through and ignore how you're feeling.
If you need some help getting into it, put on your current mood playlist. If you only have time to listen to one song, indulge your mood for that one song. But go big or go home! You really have to jump in for this to turbo charge the process.
*Warning: Skip this step at your own peril. Forcing yourself to listen to "Happy" by Pharrell Williams when you're really at Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" will probably make you want to "Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit. #justsayin
S - SO WHAT - Most of the resistance to self-care often comes from our fear of being judged, or judging ourselves, for not doing enough. It's like our level of self-worth is directly tied to our activity and production levels. Our self-worth dictates our worthiness and deservingness to ask for and receive what we need. Results-based evaluation. But WHO is this invisible boss we're answering to?
Do a round of SO WHATs to help you re-focus on whose life you're actually living, and recalibrate your settings.
SO WHAT if we decide to order take out instead of making dinner tonight? SO WHAT if we put on a tv show for the kids so we can get a break for a second? SO WHAT if the house stays messy while we take a 20 minute power nap?
I know what you're thinking. If I don't do it, it doesn't get done. Right?
SO WHAT? If it bothers you that much, figure out how to ask for help, manage your expectations, and be open to other solutions.
Remember: if you don't get the rest you need, bodies have a funny way of manually overriding our resistance and doing a system shutdown for us, with a flu, or a migraine. Or worse.
T - TIME-IN - Now that you've had your immediate needs met, you've processed through some emotions, and remembered to let go of guilt and resistance, a TIME IN with yourself is a chance to do anything else that you might have previously dismissed as over-indulgent before we started.
If a time-out on Facebook and in the pantry keeps you in limbo, a true Time-IN is the Holy Grail of what you truly need and want. It's The Thing that would make youso happy, and help you feel so good, right now.
What we usually do instead is a sensible compromise that completely ignores a real heartfelt desire. So here's your chance to choose the thing that would truly nourish and satisfy you, and enable you to jump back into your life without any residual angst.
If you've been stuck in sadness or guilt about feeling disconnected from your significant other, maybe that means you'd love a date night. If you've been missing your child after long days at work, or you've been so busy with the new baby you're feeling disconnected from him, maybe that means it's time for some one-on-one time at the park, or at Coldstone Creamery. If you've been eating Oreo Thins but dreaming about a real Double Stuf Oreo, could it be that a box of Thins won't give you the joy that a Double Stuf would give you?
What do you need to do in order to make dreams happen?
Would an extra walk around the block make you feel better about a real cookie? Do that! Do you need a friend to watch the baby so you can go on a date with your older kid, or your significant other? Call one up! Would you feel better about hiring a cleaning service if you sold something on OfferUp to pay for it? Great, do that!
There are creative solutions just waiting to be found. It just takes the belief that it'spossible to get what you want AND that you deserve to have your needs met.
You deserve REST.
I hope you find the REST you need! I'd love to know what you think, so be sure to shoot me a message and let me know how it's working for you.
Is there anything in this answer that sparked another question? What else would you like to learn about? Email me with more of your questions, and they might be featured in an upcoming newsletter!