I’ve been trying to be more deliberate about rest and taking care of myself. Deliberate, because rest for me has mostly been as a consequence of burnout or crashing after over-extending myself. I’ve written a few times on here about my attempts at being more mindful and kinder to myself. While some introspection helped me figure out where this difficulty stems from, I’ve recently gotten a lot more clarity about this and so, I’ve decided to curate a rest practice. This is now one of the few intentions I’ve set and clearly articulated for this year. As part of my attempt at more than survival, I will be scheduling rest – as a priority just like everything else that goes into my calendar.

What if you saw your life as whole and worthy without needing to prove your existence via exhaustion?

The Nap Ministry

I’ve been toying with the idea of what rest look likes since last March when we first went into lockdown. Then, it felt like too much was in limbo and urgently needed to be done. I tried to carry on as if nothing had changed before everything that had been happening in my life and in the world begun to weigh on me. In that time, I attended a webinar by Lulu Kitololo where she was talking about rest and being kind to yourself. One of the speakers said something that stayed with me,

‘Kindness is surrendering to the wisdom of your body’.

I’ve been using this statement as my guide to what activities feel restful for me. A big part of this has been allowing myself to be more childlike, taking myself a lot less seriously than I instinctively would. I’m trying to weave rest throughout my day in small intentional ways. I’m hoping this will allow it to feel closer within my reach and less like something I have to earn. (as capitalism seems to have convinced me) Less like something big I have to plan to a tee.

Some of the things I’m taking up now as part of my pursuit are:

  • I’m planning to do and doing more things I enjoyed when I was younger: taking walks, playing games, reading and spending time outside in the sun. Spending time outside has specifically been something I’ve been trying to do more of every day. I think I’m a homebody and the pandemic has only made me more of a hermit. I’ve put some reminders on my phone and asked some people in my life to keep accountable to this so I’m hopeful this will become a habit. So far, I’ve found that this has made me feel a lot lighter in the last couple of weeks.
  • Listening to music more consciously. Last year, in the midst of all the chaos that was and still is, I noticed that my capacity to listen to music reduced and the frequency as well. Since, I’ve decided to try ease back into it. Now I’m incorporating it into either my getting ready for the day or my winding down at night. I find that music, not as background noise or a silence filler, calms me, undoes the tension in my neck and immeasurably soothes.
  • Stopping. I find that when I’m feeling capable and in a state of flow, I obsess and go down a rabbit hole where I want and continue to do things beyond my body’s capacity. Learning to catch myself in the rush is still a work in progress but I am. I stop and get off the seat/ laptop and just take a little walk to refill my water bottle or just close my eyes and get off the screen for a little to reel myself back in.
  • Finally, I am filling the time with other things other than doomscrolling. So now when I have some extra time between activities, I pick up my current read and get through as much of it as I can or I read one of my bookmarked articles or saved to my Pocket or have a chat with Sharon. This helps keep my anxiety at bay as I get to control my consumption and ready myself for the internet before I go onto it.

My spirit bends worlds and does things that shouldn’t be possible, not with the way my flesh or this world is set up, but I’m learning that my body is something to be reckoned with as well. It keeps receipts and inevitably claims its debts… For once, I can see the beauty in having flesh that is as loud as my spirit. It insists on care, it is just as stubborn as I am, just as brilliant, and I forgive it for being like this, disabled and furiously alive.

Akwaeke Emezi



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