At the end of every school year, from the time I was a student into my early years of teaching, I would hide away for a few days in my home, snuggle on my couch and sleep endlessly. The end of the school year was a time to pause, rest and renew before re-entering the world. My body needed that shut down.
These days, being mom as well as teacher that period of rest is much harder to come by. But I don’t need them any less. As we all well know, I probably need them more.
And recently I was really feeling it—the intense need to shut it all off, dive into myself and block out the world around me.
Everything has felt as though it was on overdrive for a while. I reached my limit. I wasn’t the only one. The whole family was off, for lack of a better description.
We escaped for a weekend in the woods, to a small island in Puget Sound, where there isn’t that much to do, but ample room to be. The noise turned off. My body relaxed. I slept. I napped. I could have napped some more. A lot more. I could use a very long stretch of nothing.
In a moment of quiet, I realized how essential the work of being and resting is for my family. What importance there is in learning to rest and restore, to take timeouts from the world.
Our world is so noisy. It’s loud with audible sound but also with the constant stream of information and ideas coming at us all the time. It’s a lot for anyone (I think) but especially so for those of us who are sensitive—who soak up the world and feelings around us—it’s too much. For us, it becomes absolutely imperative to have times to re-center, to connect, to be comfortable in the pauses between the moments.
Personally, I’m a big believer that this, simply knowing how to rest, is one of the greatest lessons I can exemplify for my intense little people.
Allowing for rest teaches our children to acknowledge the messages their bodies send, to know and trust their own limits and boundaries. In my experience, that’s a lesson worth learning.
Restoring ourselves to ourselves reminds us who we are without the stuff. Without any exterior plan or influence. In my experience, taking timeouts as a family allows us space to continue to evolve, to connect with our values and to move forward with authenticity.
When our dynamic seems strained, when our day to day seems void of ease or flow, we shut down. We retreat into our own worlds until we are ready to be part of the larger world again. I believe we are stronger and more inspired the more we tend to our rest.
Now please, Mama. Go do nothing. Your children will thank you.