Podcast: Rest, Guilt & Modelling Your Message
This episode was uploaded tardily on Wednesday evening instead of in the morning. That was in part by design, but more coincidence, aligning with the topic of the podcast this week, taking a look at rest from a few angles. In uploading later than planned, I am hoping that this in itself acts as an example of modelling the message of the importance of rest.
There’s a very good reason why the podcast is late today, and that’s because… I’m tired. The summary of today’s episode is this: Not everyday self-development, listening, splitting your attention in three different directions and trying to do all the things. Sometimes, rest. That is your Remindher today. And this is the juncture at which you can depart from this episode if you wish. You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. Take the rest of what would have made up this episode, and do nothing. I dare you. Don’t have anything on in the background, create a to-do list, think about something you can tick off of it, just have a few minutes to yourself. Let your brain breathe!
If you have stayed, I’m going to talk a bit more about rest, today.
My friend Kayte released a brilliant podcast episode about burnout recently (Grow With Soul ep. 114), but it wasn’t just about the doing of things associated with burnout, but about burnout brought on by an overload of thought.
I am shattered.
I am soooo tempted to give a list of what I’ve got going on to prove to you why I deserve to be tired, but I’m not gonna do that. I’m telling you I’m tired. That’s it. That’s the tweet, as the kids say (down with explaining away our feelings to validate them).
I really recognise what Kayte said about having burnout being brought on by thoughts. Thinking, overthinking, too many tabs open. And it’s not anything that anyone can see, so you can’t quantify and justify it, which, is what we’re used to doing with others and ourselves.
So I let myself rest, and this all came to me within half an hour of being at my laptop this morning, all of the strands of thought over the last few weeks have brought themselves together as today’s episode.
This kind of leans into another thought I’ve had. One I’ve been very hesitant to talk about because I only have my perspective to come from and I don’t want to sound obtuse. So I say from now, if you ever hear anything or read any of my writing and think, “hmmm not sure about that Sasha,” please, open dialogue with me. I have worked with enough people who seek out yes-people to work with, and the damage they have done in this world is enough! This is not one of those places We learn by talking and hearing the opinions of others, so I’m an email or DM away. I really enjoy deeper conversation and it’s how we learn and do this life better.
So, you know the term mum guilt? Can we talk about non-mum guilt for a few moments? I'm saying this because I'm hoping to inspire conversation and not feel so alone. I’ve noticed that I actively pay attention to the fact that I don't seem to want to allow myself to feel my feelings ie. to feel tired, to say I'm exhausted. And that there are a few reasons for this, but one is that I don't have children. It's a feeling of, somebody else has it worse or has more to do, so therefore, whatever I’m feeling, can't be that bad. I am single, I freelance and work part-time at the moment. So I sit there and tell myself, “you don’t know what real tiredness is. How could you?” All of which contributes unhelpfully to the “you’re lazy” narrative. “Look at all you could be doing.” This is my self-talk sometimes.
But I was thinking about this thought process (which is less of a process and more of hop, skip and a jump across differing thoughts that I’ve jaggedly sewn together to form a false narrative for myself), and I think me feeling guilty for someone else, doesn't do anyone any good. It’s presumptive. It’s reductive. It breeds comparison. And it leads to all of us wherever we are, across a myriad of circumstances, feeling guilty for what we want to feel because we perceive that somebody else has it worse off (and if you’ve seen my Instagram post on gratitude this week, you’ll know how I feel about thoughts, practices, narratives that make us feel like we can’t feel what we really feel. Whether from outside, or from within).
And so we exist in a world, where you are or you are not. You have or you have not. You want or you don’t want. But no matter the decision or circumstance, we are all compressed under guilt no matter our life paths and choices. And this is why I will never stop talking about self-compassion as a woman because every ism tells us every minute of the waking day who we should be, where we should be, how we should be. And if you hold some of these titles or roles, you should feel endlessly grateful for it. For the fact you get to live this life. And if you don’t or are not some of those things, you should feel eternally grateful and full of gratitude, because you don’t know x struggle. But what you should all feel, is eternally guilty for what you actually feel.
I hope that made sense. I tried my best to put my thoughts and the sentiment across.
So there you have it. Burnout. Guilt about not seeming busy, but my brain folding in on itself. And guilt about my personal life circumstances, and what I do and don’t think that gives me a right to feel.
The first coach I ever worked with was Nicola Rae Wickham, and she has imparted a lot of knowledge and wisdom before, during and since I’ve worked with her. But there will be two pieces that always stand out. The first: you find your voice by using it. This podcast, if you’ve found me through my words in some way, all stand testament to that. The second is something she said recently, that has pierced my heart, found soil and rooted itself in. She spoke about modelling your message. Nicola was talking about how she’s modelling her message in her business, but I don’t just think this is for the business bunch. I would broaden that to include all the aspects of our lives. The things we say we want to call in and make more time for.
I want more space. And even though the guilt monster sits on my shoulder saying, “you! Single, non-mother, part-time worker, want MORE space?!” But I’m a slow paced person. And one thing I know now is that you can’t compare your capacity or your circumstance to anyone else. Space allows me to think less narrowly and less unkindly towards myself. Space makes way for my creativity and these words you read or hear. I think space and rest can sit interchangeably in terms of what they bring into my life.
I make space by setting learning aside often. That may mean not scrolling the gram, even though I love the space I have created there. But not every hour of every day is time to consume even the most wholesome content. We weren’t designed to always be in consumption mode, even via cliff notes, quotes and 30-second reels. Even if regarded as shallow-content that doesn’t ask too much of us, it’s still too much.
I make space by bringing in self-compassion. Yes, this podcast, that I love to do is late today. I journal a lot to provide myself with evidence that my brain likes to just ignore a lot of the time when making sweeping statements of self-judgement.
I make space by making rest a priority when it’s needed. That looks like, not taking on any more freelance work, so I can reduce my work schedule for August. It looks like the staycation I’ve booked for a few weeks time (lol, that I booked before my holiday had been approved - but that’s just come through too!).
Every Friday, I have the frivolous Friday bath. It’s extra and over the top, and goes on for hours, and there’s one rule: no learning. No self-development podcast playing in the background. You can be entertained, or you can listen to music. That gives space for my brain. And space in my brain is the route to true deep rest for me.
Make space for yourself modelling your message, your modus operandi. In work, in life. Everywhere. You are showing anyone around you how you operate and how to treat you, and most of all, you are reminding yourself of how to treat you. If the pandemic taught us anything, it was to stop trying to operate at the end of ourselves. I’m not unlearning that.