Image credits @hubertyang
by Lisa Khiev
You deserve rest. It’s easy to forget how rapidly our minds and bodies can enter fight-or-flight when we’re under day-to-day mental and physical distress. Our natural response is to look for ways to feel safe. Unfortunately, this response is often made worse by our anxiety, fears and decision fatigue. Learning to rest and restore is the key.
Self-soothing and regulating your nervous system will get you back into a rest-and-digest mode (a more gentle and balanced mental and emotional state), so you can focus on what matters most. If you find yourself highly prone to stress, burnout and all of the above, making self regulation a priority practice can really go a long way. One of the ways you can start is by giving yourself the grace you deserve for not always ‘getting it right’ the first time. Take a breath.
Practice Self Regulation
Self regulation, without the tools, can sometimes feel unpredictable and overwhelming. Often, these practices involve you getting to know yourself and your body well enough to know what works for you. Because our bodies are so uniquely different (you are distinctly 1 of 1), learning to self-regulate through exploring key practices that bring you peace of mind is vital. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, journaling, speaking to a friend, enjoying the outdoors (nature heals) or attending a sound bath ceremony, the possibilities to self soothe are infinite. If you don’t know what works for you just yet, this is your sign to be open to exploring.
Make Space for Restoration
Restoration practices don't always come easy, especially for those who’ve never learned how to emotionally self-soothe or simply rest. First-generation descendants of immigrants can speak to this — having watched their parents work day and night to feed their families in a foreign country. Anyone in a 9-5 role is often exposed to the traditional rise-and-grind philosophy adopted as a norm (as burnout stats rise to staggering numbers every year). If you see yourself in these stories, it’s likely you have also learned those same behaviors of survival — forgetting to rest and restore your mind, body or spirit. Restoration is something you deserve. It’s not something you have to work for. Give yourself the space to heal. Make rest a non-negotiable.
Make Restoration a RitualYour restoration practice allows you to experience true and deep self care — the kind of deep care that feels like you’re sitting by a quiet pond, watching the birds, enjoying the sun in all its goodness without thinking about your to-do list. It’s the reverent rest and peace your body needs and your mind is seeking. Ritualizing begins with exploring what works for you. Once you know what feels good for you and your body, make it a practice with small rituals — like lighting a candle before you begin meditation or affirming a statement of gratitude before eating well. This gives you momentum to integrate the practice on a regular basis.