How do you rest without feeling guilty? If you have asked yourself this question, you’re in the right place!
I asked you all on Instagram what you wanted me to talk about this week and this topic was requested by my very own lovely sister ❤️
Today is Monday and it’s the first day of a very special week. In fact, it’s #Mentalhealthawarenessweek and this year’s theme is Kindness. So to kick start things off, we are going to talk about being kind to ourselves by letting ourselves take a break without feeling guilty about not-doing-the-million-things-I-should-be-doing.
So…how do you do it?
Why do I even feel guilty?
Let’s start from the beginning. Why would I even feel guilty about resting in the first place?
It seems like it might just be human nature to always fret about, scan our surroundings and think about ‘what’s next’ all the time. Our ancestors could not afford to constantly leave their guards down (our more relaxed ancestors, unfortunately, did not get the chance to pass on their genes to us, sigh) and it is no wonder that our brains tend to go 100 miles per hour, thinking about what needs doing, the dishes, the laundry, the shopping and that conversation where you said that really stupid thing, gee, should I message them and apologise?
Is it all just about genetics?
Because of my tendency to philosophise about everything, the above-mentioned explanation did not satisfy me: there’s got to be more. I am not my ancestors.
So to become a pro at resting without feeling guilty, I thought we’d delve into the more philosophical aspects of this tendency of ours.
Guilt is a very strong feeling and in existentialism, there is such a thing as Existential Guilt. Existential Guilt refers to the guilt we as human beings fill by not fulfilling the full potential of our existence. This kind of guilt presents itself every time we make a decision, thereby closing the door on other millions of possibilities. If I decide to have tea, I can’t have coffee, or a glass of orange juice, at the same time.
When I sit down to rest, that’s when the guilt of not fulfilling my potential kick in the strongest: I am resting, thereby I am not achieving anything.
What can I do?
The first thing to do is to accept it. Accept the guilt as an organic part of being alive, of being a human being. The more you fight it, the stronger it gets. It’s a tug of war you can’t win because you fuel your own guilt. The best thing to do is to let go of the rope.
So I have accepted the guilt, ‘what now’ you may ask? Look at that ancestor mentality kicking in already. That’s okay, it’s part of our make up 🙂
Now it is time to practice that ‘kindness’ skill. If a friend of yours told you they really wanted to sit down and rest because they’d had a hell of a week, what would you say to them? Would you pester them with things they should be doing until they got up? Because that’s what you do to yourself every time you start making that mental list of ‘shoulds’ when you put your feet up.
Meditation might help to clear the mind and release the thoughts. Creating some rituals might also help you put yourself in the right headspace.
Now, put your feet up, my friend, and enjoy that rest you so need without feeling guilty. It’ll take a few tries, but you can do it.