How to Find True Rest

How to Find True Rest

Has this ever been you?

You just feel like you have no time. No time to be yourself because any time you take for yourself feels guilty and like a waste of time. Or maybe you want to take time for yourself, but you are so drained at the end of the day, that the thought of mustering up the energy to do anything after work besides your obligated tasks, like taking care of your family and dog, and then pouring yourself into bed seems outlandish and impossible. This was my normal state for years. Teaching and the impossible standards I set for myself pushed me into a negative cycle; a cycle which pushed me into depressive and isolating habits and emotions.

If this sounds like you, first I would like to express deep empathy because I have been there, and though I do not know your situation and I do not pretend to know exactly how you’re feeling. I relate to the hopelessness and fear that this cycle generates. I would like to help and share something that was instrumental to breaking that cycle, and it might seem outlandish, but not only do I have anecdotal evidence, I also have research to back it up (because I am a nerd, and I research things for my own fun and enjoyment lol)

Research

I am happy to say that I spend much less of my time in the depressive state I described above. I have the energy after work to do fun things like work out, cook, hang out with my husband etc. And no, it is not because I changed professions. I am still an educator and this energy came to me while I was still in the classroom. I might also add that this energy came while I was going through grad school. I wondered, “how is this possible?” My work load didn’t change, my profession didn’t change, my home situation didn’t change…” So I looked back for clues. When did I first start feeling better, and that was when I started to try new things. I started going to workout classes after work instead of pouring myself into bed, I tried yoga, cycling, boxing, and I even took a meditation class. My life really took a positive turn when I began to try to cook new things. I remember when I decided I was going to try and learn how to make macarons… it took me 4 separate tries but I did it! Then I taught myself how to build a website, and it birthed the blog you’re reading today. But why? On the outside this all just seems like MORE WORK. How could this lead to me feeling better rested? 

“What type of tired are you.”

Well, it turns out, rest is more than just staying in and not doing anything: this has to be one of the most powerfully life changing ideas I have encountered. I read the book Sacred Rest by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith which uncovered why these new activities filled me up rather than drained me further. According to her research, there are 7 forms of rest that we need in order to be TRULY rested: Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, Social, Sensory, and Creative rest. What type of rest you need depends on what type of tired you are. For me, as I look back, I was a little of every tired. The yoga helped cure my spiritual fatigue because I used the time to pray and connect with God; the meditation provided me with mental rest where I could take a break from all of the mental background noise that bombarded me everyday; and hanging out with my friends provided me with emotional and social rest.

I highly recommend her book. I listened to the audio book which comes with an accompanying PDF assessment that can help you identify what type of tired you are. Additionally, the chapters go in depth about how to get the kind of rest you need. I mean it when I say this book was an instrumental factor to understanding my needs more intimately, and it helped me become more efficient with supporting my physical and mental health. 

If you are not a reader, though I believe we all are on the inside, you can check Dr. Dalton-Smith’s website with FREE resources.

Dr. Dalton-Smith’s website with FREE resources.

The Fun Factor

The next piece of influential research that helped me on my journey to joy is The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos. This is a podcast by Dr. Santos who is a Yale professor who teaches a class on get this, how to live a better life! The episode that influenced me the most is “Laurie Gets a Fun-tervention” parts one and two. This podcast shook me to my core because it held a up mirror and made me realize that I could NOT remember the last time I actually had fun! Like true fun. 

Fun actually has a definition. In her podcast, Dr. Santos explains that we use the word fun way too liberally. A lot of the time we use the word fun as an inverse to work. Just because it is not our job, doesn’t mean that it is actually fun. To qualify as fun it must satisfy 3 factors: playfulness, connection, and flow! When you are playing, you are engaging in an activity that you are doing just for the sake of doing it. It isn’t for accolades or necessarily an end goal, it is for the pure enjoyment of engaging in the activity. Connection with others is also important for people who do not describe themselves as “people people.” As humans, we crave connection, and when we feel the connection it adds to the fun factor. Lastly, flow. Flow is when you are so present and involved in an activity that you lose track of time. It is when you are immersed in what you are doing, and time flows naturally.

For me, my fun factors came when I was cooking a new recipe. It was playful because it was out of the norm, and it was an experiment just to see if I could do it. I felt a connection with others because I would share my recipes and endeavors with my friends and we would get to eat afterwards. Lastly, I was completely in flow zooming from sink to stove to counter dancing all the while! I also found ways to make my date nights with my husband more than just us sitting on the couch and watching TV. I set up a paint and sip where we followed a youtube painting tutorial, I bought a magnetic dart set so we could compete with one another in the house, and we even took a trip down memory lane and played rounds of Battle Ship.

The possibilities for fun are endless, but the important part is to just start experimenting. I promise you, the introduction of more fun in your life can only help. 

Thank you!

Thank you for reading, and I really hope this helps. I mean it when I say that being intentional about rest and fun has changed my perspective and outlook on life. I am hoping the same for you. You deserve to have joy and peace in your life. Until next time remember, mind, body, and then classroom. In that order. 

5 tips to get you through school and a full time job! (or any busy season!)

I know that I have been away for a while, and that is because I had a busy season within my life. I planned a wedding and got married! I moved twice! I got into a graduate school program and earned my degree. All while still teaching 9th grade English full time. 

This blog, formerly known as everydaylicious, has truly helped me turn everyday delicious, but not just from a food standpoint. It helped me to find value outside of work and learn that making life amazing is a daily choice. Now that I have taken a step back, I realize that cooking and recipes are just a piece of the puzzle. I truly wish to bring joy to educators, and busy people alike. Moving forward my blog will be a platform to share lessons learned throughout life in hopes to help others nourish their mind and body to affect their classroom.

For my inaugural blog post, I want to share how I survived such a busy season with my mental health intact. Here are some tips I learned along the way. Hopefully this will help you with any busy season that you’re in.

This busy season culminated in me graduating from The University of Texas with a Masters in Educational Leadrship and Policy

1. Be Kind to yourself!

If you are not your cheerleader, then you very well may be your enemy. This seems like a simple tip, but I chose to put it first because without this, I feel like it doesn’t matter what you do because you will always feel like you are not good enough. I was hit hard with imposter syndrome when I started my school work. It took me a long time to realize that I need to talk myself up! I started putting positive sticky notes all over my house saying things like “You got this!” and “You go Glen Coco!” It worked to remind myself that I am doing my best, and that is enough which leads to more productivity and the push I need to complete tasks.

2. Lean on others!

You are not alone. Speak to your professors, lean on your classmates, lean on your friends and support system. I did my graduate program with a cohort, so it was easy for me to identify those who I can reach out to when I needed clarification or motivation, but even if you do not have a cohort to lean on, I strongly encourage you to find your people or person because they could be the difference between you giving up and finishing strong. Put your pride and competitive nature away, and ask for help!

3. The slow cooker is your best friend!

With a full time job, a new marriage, and a full time course load, finding time to eat is one of the most challenging things to do. I did not want to fall into a cycle where I am getting fast food every day because my wallet and my body could not handle that. I leaned on slow cooker meals to set it and forget it.The food would either be done when I woke up to pack and take to work for lunch, or I would set it in the morning, and come home to a meal just before I had to hop on zoom for a class!

4. Find a system that works for you!

I made the best purchase when I bought my ipad because I knew that I needed somewhere I could store all of my notes and reading materials. I downloaded the “good notes” app which allowed me to electronically take my lecture notes and import my pdf’s from the syllabus where I could highlight and make notes on them just as if they were paper. I also downloaded all of my books on kindle to read on my ipad. This made it convenient. If I had my ipad, I knew I had all of my study materials, and I didnt have to worry about leaving anything anywhere. 

I stress that you should also have a system for your personal care. If you do not make time for things that feed your soul, you will run out of steam before your reach the finish line. Take your mental, emotional, and spiritual health just as seriously as you take the health of your GPA. Schedule it in your calendar, and actually do it. If something comes up, you can move it, but don’t cancel it. Trust me it is worth it.

5. Lastly, Balance is the best option.

Sometimes I would have to say no to things that I really wanted to do. Sometimes I knew that I needed to press a little harder because I had overlapping deadlines, but if I did have to push harder, I would be intentional about my rest. Understand that there are ebbs and flows to your work. You cannot poush 100% all the time at anything and expect to endure with your mental health. Give yourself a plan for how you are going to set boundaries and say no to some stuff when it is difficult.

Thank you!

Remember, you’re amazing just for being you. I hope these ideas help you in your journey and remember, mind, body and then you can worry about the classroom.