I’m a huge word nerd. Every single twilight of December, I make sure to select a word that’ll set the tone for the year that beckons. It’s such an invaluable activity that gives the new year a sense of purpose and alignment.
So, what did 2023—my year of “surrender”—teach me?
Rest is absolutely integral to getting where we want to go with our goals and dreams. If you listen to my podcast, The Power Within Her, you might recall in Episode 22: “Let’s Redefine Productivity to Avoid Guilt,” we chatted about how our goals are a tabletop and one leg of that table is active doing, while the other leg is resting. And if we don’t have both legs, then the table will collapse.
Of course, ambitious women like you and me are smart, and we objectively know that we need to incorporate rest and active doing to achieve our goals. And yet… it’s not always easy to do that. Because we’re so used to living in a go-go-go society where we’ll feel immensely guilty or full of anxiety at having to slow down or take a break. The facade of resting without actually resting is exhausting.
So, when 2023 started, I knew that I needed to figure out how to authentically rest. Because I was past the point of burnout. Because my mental health was in the toilet. Because I'd ended up in the ER for an ulcer due to stress from overworking myself. It was time to surrender to the compulsion to hustle. I started the process of surrendering on January 1st by doing the opposite of what I'd always done on the first day of the new year: instead of crushing an impossible to do list, I took the the day to lay in bed and read and be.
I won't lie, girlfriend. Learning to authentically rest was HARD, especially since I'd had so much practice at go-go-going. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say that when you prioritize rest to heal your burnout, it feels wrong. More times than I can count, I thought: OMG, I should be doing something!!!! Day in and day out, I felt like a failure for wasting so much time doing "nothing." And with each passing second, I felt like I was falling more and more and more behind.
If you connect to that, girl-- I promise, you're not alone and there's nothing wrong with you if you're experiencing those feelings.
Because what I didn't know then, but I do know now is that... this is the detox phase. You've gotta purge yourself of that compulsion to hustle your face off by staying committed to resting. It's the hardest part of learning to authentically rest, but it's so necessary.
So, if my husband asked me to watch a movie, or to go hiking, then I was going to actually watch the movie or go hiking. I wasn't going to multi-task. I was going to let the two hours pass and enjoy the movie and my husband and the moment. And the more I did that or things like that, the easier it became to reap the necessary effects of authentically resting, such as:
calmer thoughts (rather than racing thoughts)
tying my worth to being (rather than doing)
more energy (rather than feeling tapped and drained all the time)
and being more playful and present (rather than being so regimented and distracted).
And now that I'm at the end of my year of surrender, I can more than appreciate the beauty and necessity of rest. I've been able to detach my worth from how much, or little, I'm able to accomplish in a day. I don't feel behind if I take a day to veg on the couch, or hike with my family in my favorite marsh or on the trails.
Rest is such a wonderful thing that's beautiful and necessary to living a full, vibrant life. I am so grateful that I learned how to authentically rest this year. Because the last thing this world needs are ambitious women who have poor mental and physical health due to overworking themselves. We deserve to be healthy and happy as we build a life that excites us.
So, as you make goals and resolutions for the new year, make sure you factor in rest, girlfriend! :) I promise, it's more than worth it.
If you're interested in more lessons that I learned from 2023's year of surrender, check out Episode 193 of The Power Within Her Podcast!