Finding Rest, Again.

If I am going to be honest, this blog should not be titled finding rest, but should be really titled ‘Learning how to Rest – for the first time.’

That is raw and vulnerable, but the truth of the matter is this has always been a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around. Over the past five years, I have been on a journey of dissecting what ‘rest’ looks like for me and understanding why I struggle with it so much. It is not that I do not like naps or enjoying a day off, but I internally feel guilty if I do not have a productive, “check off the list” kind of day. This has been a process of breaking this mental barrier of mine.

So, like I said, it has been a journey and as I have reflected and continue to become more self-aware of my tendencies, I have found that this is deeply rooted from and started at a very young age.

I will paint you a quick picture.
As a six-year-old, my favorite store was the container store. In fact, I got more excited about a new container then the actual doll that would be going inside of it. I started playing soccer at 5, piano at 8, flute at 10 and of course joined the student council in 4th grade, which soon led to me being student council president and senior class president throughout high school. I was involved with club volleyball and played every sport you can imagine. I also was in marching band, media club, prom queen, voted most likely to succeed and the list goes on. This followed me into college, where I joined honor societies and extra curriculars and in every way stretched myself to continue to achieve more. Now, part of this was to build a resume – I will admit, but a large percentage of the time, I thoroughly wanted and chose to be involved in all that I could stretch myself to do. From a younger age, I wanted the gold star and as I got older, I started asking myself the harder questions of why and is this worth my time?

I will admit, I am an over achiever and I happily accept that title, but in the last decade I have been trying to retrain my brain and reevaluate time and how it is spent. The last 3 years have been a journey as I have been finishing up my doctorate, building Imani Collective and growing my family. I am proud of where I am, but I am even more proud of how far I have come.

Many of you will look at my life and say ‘WHOAH – superwoman, you do too much.’ For me, you have to understand that I am high capacity person, I always have been and always will be. It is how the Lord built me, but in this new season, I am trying to take that capacity that I hold and place it in other areas like rest.

What does that look like?

I am actually not quite sure, but what I am excited about is the intentionality I am giving towards it. In about 10 days, I should be expecting my third child and in 2 days, I am for the first time taking a maternity leave. I will say with my second kiddo, Sophie – I at least wrote up a maternity plan for my team, but did not adhere to it at all and with Jadon (firstborn), resting was non-existent. I can still recall me holding a meeting at my house with my country director 5 days after giving birth. She thought I was crazy and still does, I just thought I was being supermom and keeping track to what Jenny always does best and that is ‘DO.’

Now as I look back… she was right. I was absolutely crazy.

With all that to say, I am excited for this new chapter, new intentions, new balance and new priorities. I am excited to give back to myself and learn a new way of thinking. This next step is not going to be easy and in fact, will probably be really hard for me, but I am not giving up on this. I have spent thirty years just going as fast as I can, as hard as I can and not really evaluating or more so, internalizing how I am being intentional with resting not just physically, but also my soul.

This is a time to soul search, be connected to myself on a deeper level and wipe away all those years of guilt for taking time for naps. It is time for me to realize that I am worth more. #shesworthmore

It is finally time for guilt free naps, endless books to be read, and long conversations over coffee to get lost in without a clock dictating my every move.

I am also excited to be sharing this process with you. I will blog when I can (but not setting expectations on myself) and I will show up raw for you on my social handles. I hope that as I dissect this next chapter of my life, that you are encouraged and can apply anything I am learning to your personal journey.

 

Also, if you have any advice, books, practices that I should try that will help with resting and being still, please send my way.

From the recovering workaholic, learning to rest for the first time in her life,

Resting without Guilt | The Daily Struggle

I had sat down and tracked out my weekend. I was ready to take on a productive two days that I had mapped out so meticulously. I am the queen of time blocking and that is basically what I did for all of Saturday and Sunday.

If you have never heard of time blocking or know what it is, here is a great resource: https://doist.com/blog/time-blocking/

Here is also a wonderful blog from my friend Lulu about planning time: http://www.afri-love.com/2020/01/planning-excellence/

All that to say, I love to plan. I love to be efficient and I love to get things done in the most effective ways possible. Time blocking many days is my saving grace for staying on task and managing all the hats that I am wearing in this season of life.

But… yes, there is a big BUT.

But, Saturday happened. I woke up drained, unmotivated, hot (Mombasa hot season for you), and then, frustrated at being hot, drained and unmotivated. Overall, I was tired. I do not even think I was that physically tired, but I was a bit emotionally and mentally drained from the week.

And so, I did what I do best in these moments. I slept. I am not talking about an hour or so, I am talking about the whole day – slept.

For any of you out there who are productive, task managers, conquerors of to-do lists and overall, high capacity people then you know exactly what happened when I woke up after sleeping the whole day away. I immediately was frustrated and mentally began beating myself for wasting a day that I had meticulously planned to be productive.

Can anyone relate?

Your body and mind say, “hey, you need some sleep” and so, you listen, but then, you wake up more upset, drained and overwhelmed then before because you wanted to be productive and efficient. Your mind immediately goes into thoughts of guilt instead of grace and you beat yourself up for resting. Has that ever happened to you?

That was me and is something that I have been struggling with for almost my life.

I find it hard to rest. Yes, I will come out and say it. Truly, resting is hard for me. Being still is difficult. Being fully present without processing decisions or thinking of what is coming next in my head, is challenging.

I see a day and the 24 hours, and I want to make the most out of every minute. That might be writing up a new program or having coffee with a friend – whatever it is – I want my minutes to be full and not spent wasted sleeping. Sound ridiculous, doesn’t it?

The reality is though, I KNOW am not alone in this. I know there are plenty of you reading this and understanding exactly where I am coming from. You know that feeling, right? When you have ten things on your to do list and you only get one done? Instead of rejoicing in the one accomplished task of the day, you concentrate on the other nine unchecked boxes and beat yourself of for it.

Welcome to my life. I am daily having to learn how to give myself grace and walk in that versus drowning in the self-inflicted guilt.

I do not have answers in this as I am constantly recovering from this state on a weekly basis, but I do want to give you some quick principles you can follow:

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Reappraise the situation. When you feel emotions of guilt, ask yourself, what is the story I am telling myself that’s producing this emotion? Is there another way to look at this?
  • Recognize that the support you provide to others is a key component of your productivity; those contributions help your organization move forward.
  • Embrace the state of non-completion. Try to accept that your to-do list will never be done, and you will always have things you really wished you’d gotten to.

Don’t: 

  • Abide by lengthy to-do lists. Trim down your list and make the goals credibly achievable.
  • Overestimate time, energy, and resources. Make a choice to disengage from certain goals because they’re not worth your investment.
  • Expect these feelings to suddenly disappear. Wrestling with guilt is an ongoing process, and you need to be prepared to work through your emotions again and again.

(source: https://hbr.org/2020/03/stop-feeling-guilty-about-your-to-do-list)

Moral of the story (theme of this blog): Do not follow my lead on this and take the advice from the Harvard Business Review Article from above. More importantly, learn how to daily offer yourself grace, love and intentional self-care.

From the one daily recovering from feeling guilty over unfinished to-do lists,