This year, 2022, has been busy and it is hard to believe we are in the last month of the year.
As we wind down a very intense 11 months, I invite you to intentionally create space for quiet, stillness, and reflection. December is a great time to mentally and energetically prepare for the new year. It is tempting to want to binge on delicious food, stream movies and television shows, and sit on the sofa all weekend. Especially after the demands 2022 has placed on us, vegging out can be our immediate response.
This doesn't have to be a negative. The toxicity of indoctrinated white supremacy and capitalism, makes us shame rest, and view it as “lazy”, “unproductive”, and “mediocre”. We don't allow ourselves to rest, especially surviving during an active Pandemic, Democracy eroding, continued racial violence, and other challenges Black Women carry, in tandem with working, caretaking, raising families, building economies, and liberating a broken society. A lack of rest and consistent sleep is a Public Health crisis, because it leads to chronic conditions, suppressed immunity, behavioral health challenges, among many other public health concerns.
As we move into the New Year, we will be bombarded with an abundance of messaging telling us to “Achieve Our Goals”, “Don't Waste Time”, “Work Hard”, “Level Up”, “Restrict What You Eat”, “Exercise with Intensity”, “Grind Hard”, and all the other symptoms of a toxic system.
I invite you to do what serves you in this new season of your journey. If these messages immediately evoke, anxiety, overwhelm, and unease, consider releasing this indoctrination.
Freedom, RadicalRest, Liberation, Community Care, Soft Living, Grace, Peace, Stillness, can be replacements to the toxic New Year Behaviors that will consciously and unconsciously run through your Self Talk.
I’m taking a moment of vulnerability here. I usually take time in December to metaphorically collapse from an overly ambitious year of saying yes too many times (when saying no would have served me), overbooking myself, overcommitting, not consistently enforcing my boundaries, and not taking enough time to be still. Though I always use this month to strategically plan for the upcoming year in all aspects of my personal, professional, physical, spiritual, mental, and communal life, I also become sedentary as I allow my body to recover, without shame.
I’m inspired by Tricia Hersey’s transformative work at The Nap Ministry championing “Rest Is Resistance”, where she boldly and courageously is the ordained “Nap Bishop” inviting us to challenge the indoctrinated paradigm (i.e., hobbies should be monetized, have multiple jobs, always accept new opportunities, keep grinding, keep working without a break, etc.) and fiercely protect our rest, with the same energy we have used to assimilate to this system. We are unaware of our role perpetuating this toxic productivity culture, at the demise of our own well-being and health. As Tricia Hersey advocates, it will take years to deprogram our understanding of rest as reparations. Rest does not have to be a capitalistic activity where we have the right eye mask from a store, a Himalayan Salt lamp, an aromatherapy diffuser, expensive Egyptian cotton high thread count sheets, or any of the unnecessary demands the mainstream white wellness billion dollar enterprise subliminally brainwashes us into thinking is required for true rest.
There are many types of rest, but the small (and challenging) act of closing our eyes for 30 minutes in between meetings, walking outside and listening to the sounds of nature, laying on a mat or rug in a resting posture for 10 minutes, closing our eyes for 5 minutes after reading/responding to emails, and adopting an ethos of saying no to business opportunities that evoke stress. I’m reflecting on being in a metaphorical posture of “let the chips fall where they may”, as a way to utilize rest as wellness. Meaning, my rest is the number one priority and everything else will happen as it's intended.
As we end this year and look toward 2023, perhaps we consider what a groundbreaking paradigm shift on rest looks like and can be for you. I’m planning to abstain from streaming this month, to help me purge the unnecessary information and energy from others, so I can hear from Spirit and get my energy realigned. This will be new for me, but I’m excited for the challenge. I want to replace streaming with listening to more podcasts, reading more books, and being still, to drown out all the outside noise, prepare my mind, spirit, and body for 2023.
I can’t add more hours to my day ,but I can ensure I spend my time restoring my soul. I can take more hot epsom salt baths, read the books on my bookshelf that are untouched, reconnect with my social support, create a conducive space for creative thoughts, get back to a regular sleep cycle, cook more recipes (not my standard survival food of oats, beans, quinoa, egg whites, veggies, fruits, and nuts), spend more time building my marriage, and just be, instead of always doing.
There is no shame in streaming, but throughout 2022 I have spent too many mindless hours on the couch, at the expense of not having enough time for myself.
Progress is the goal, not the myth of “Perfection”. Remember: Our Wellness Is Infinite!
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
How will you deprogram and shift your belief on rest?