Reflections & Intentions

Unconditional Permission to Rest

This Saturday, like every Saturday, I had a plan: I was supposed to do the next recipe for the Great British Blog Off project.

Like the past few weeks, though, I approached it with a sense of heaviness, exhaustion, and dread. I could feel deep in my bones that I needed a full day of rest. A day, as my fiancĂ© calls it, of “potato-ing.”

In truth, I’ve been feeling the call for a while.

Last weekend, I broke into literal tears after being reminded that some friends would be over Saturday to help move some dirt outside. Saturday and Sunday with some level of human interaction, on top of my weekly bake?

This reaction should have made it clear that I desperately needed some time off from my own expectations.

And yet, I pressed ahead with my bake, and stepping outside to say my pleasantries from a distance, and my virtual weekly game of Pathfinder with my friends.

Then it was Monday, and I was still tired, and I had to keep going.

On Tuesday, I ended up going to the doctor for some new symptoms that have popped up. As usual, there are not yet any clear answers, and the tests go on.

Even though it’s coming on two years after the process of being diagnosed with my chronic pain disorder, I still find the doctor’s office a completely terrifying and overwhelming place to go. I can’t quite get past the feeling of heaviness and the constancy of those appointments pre-diagnosis. Every time I step in there it reminds me of how hard the experience was, and how much I don’t want to go through anything like it again.

And so, when Saturday came, I awoke with a firm conviction that it wasn’t in my best interest to force myself to get dressed, drive to the grocery, and collect the ingredients for my bake.

I did not want to bake a showstopper cake. I wanted to rest.

I swaddled myself in a blanket, grabbed my copy of Vesper Flights, and popped some coffee shop ambiance music onto the TV.

Azula also enjoyed our day of rest

I sat there most of the day, taking breaks only to walk the dog, eat, and make myself tea.

It’s been a while, I realized, since I’d given myself a full day off from to-do lists. No social obligations, no demands upon myself to put out work, creative or otherwise, no insistence upon reaching 10,000 steps a day.

Just me, a book, the couch, and little Azula curled up in my lap.

Because we’ve had to spend so much time at home this past year, I think some part of me forgot that I still have to carve out intentional rest time. There is a way to be at home and resting and there’s a way to be at home and not rest at all.

I’m glad I took the day off from my usual expectations on my weekends and just allowed myself to rest and recharge. I hope you will remember to give yourself unconditional permission to rest when you need it, to the best of your ability.

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