The day is Tuesday. The time is 6 o’clock. As gravity pulls me to the floor on a black yoga mat, I listen to the most appropriate statement of the day, “Relax and set your intentions. As you begin to take deep breaths, let go of anything that you’ve experienced for the day and set your intentions now.” As I’m laying there surrounded by souls debriefing and unpacking, I can imagine each person’s griefs and grabbles of the day exiting the room as if they were apart of the last class’s aftermath. The group and I are now ready and able to set our intentions and embark on the 1 hour, life-changing journey of Warrior Sculpt (a Yoga class that challenges every fiber in your being and replicates that of managing endeavors in our lives.) It’s precisely why I won’t miss this date every Tuesday night. The level of strength and replenishment has allowed me to better understand the statement of learning how to rest and not quit.
Naturally, I’m an ambitious woman. I can handle early call times and late nights with ease. I can handle multiple jobs, dedicated relationships, deadlines, and pressures pretty well. If anything, I’ve had to learn how to rest and “actively recover” (a statement that is frequently used during my Warrior Sculpt class.) It merely means to still work while you are resting. After we complete a series of rigorous cardio with weights, we go into active recovery with a few downward facing dogs or chair poses. This way, my muscles are still doing the job, but they’re also getting a moment to just be. Likewise, in life, we have to learn how to continue exercising our strength, knowledge, and talents all while in a state of just being. You don’t have to quit, you just have to slow down and take a more conscious approach to your work. It’s much harder than it sounds.
My wake up call was when I kept telling people how busy I was. I’d been enthralled by all the quotes about boss women and their power and qualities that make them such. I’d work countless hours and would wake up early yearning to work even more. I found myself answering multiple emails at the same time that I was checking my social media DM’s and talking to customer service on the phone. And, I was doing everything so well. No area of my life slacked because I am an innate doer. I never doubted that I couldn’t get things done, so I’d say yes to everything and get it done. However, with juggling everything, there came days when I wanted to pack up my laptop, phones and other tools and go throw them in Nashville’s Cumberland River! The weekends got shorter, and I quickly realized that I was hitting a wall. It wasn’t that I couldn’t run to the wall, it’s that when I got there, I shut down. I wanted to quit. When it comes to the exertion of ourselves to work, we generally only give ourselves two options: go hard or stop. There’s even a quote that says, “Go Big or Go Home,” but the reality is we truly need to learn how to rest. For most of us, we stopped taking naps in kindergarten, and it’s frowned upon to take a moment for yourself in the middle of the day, but folks, you really need too. Wouldn’t life be magnificent if we could pull out our yoga mats and lie down to reset while sitting at our desk?!
When I compare my exertion in my Warrior Sculpt Class to that of life, it looks a little something like this. The weights that I’m carrying and the hardest cardio moments of the class are the challenges that I will face as I’m juggling work, relationships, etc. When I’ve run out of breath, and my muscles feel fatigued represents the days when I’m counting down the time until I can get in the bed and try another day. The reality is, we can’t stop the challenges, and we’re human, so we’re going to get tired and long for the bed. However, you can “set your intentions” because you already know what you’re up against and the only way you’re going to get through it effectively and efficiently is to do so each day. It’s the only way you can genuinely actively recover, avoid burnout or the sensation of wanting to quit.
There’s a point during Warrior Sculpt where my instructor says, “here is the time that you need to become a warrior.” As she canvases the room, she’s reaffirming that the journey ahead means that you’re going to have to go full force towards it and fight through it. She reminds us to reexamine our intentions and use that as our fuel. I, often, leave class wishing she’d walk around with me throughout the day whispering those notions so that I can readjust my mind frame. It’s practice though. You have to show up for yourself because you’re literally the only person that is with you for 24 hours of the day. Do what you need to do to rest, to actively recover, to work vigorously. The only way you achieve the balance is to practice and set your intentions. Anything that does not serve those actions must go.
As serene as it sounds, learning how to rest is as tedious and treacherous as working out! For those of us who are workaholics, boss women, or whatever, it can even be stressful, but that’s part of the practice because giving up is not an option that we should be willing to accept.
Further tips for Learning How to Rest Are:
- Readjust Your Schedule. Do you need to sleep a little longer? Do you need to actually take your lunch break? Do you need to make time for morning meditation and prayer?
- Prioritize Your Evenings. What’s more important? Happy hour or a workout?
- Set Your Intentions by Creating Weekly Lists Instead of Daily Lists.
- Allow the Mind To Rest – Netflix and Chill! HBO-Go! HULU! Amazon Prime! You name it. A day sitting in front of the tv can do wonders.
- Enjoy a Day at the Park.
- Do One Thing at a Time.
- Say No.
- Embark on Relaxing Ventures (Spa Days, Vacations, Etc.).
- Give Yourself Time to Do Things. Missing a few deadlines is okay.
- Give Yourself Some Grace Out Loud (Jasmine, you’ve done a great job! Jasmine, you accomplished a lot today. Jasmine, you’re so thorough! Jasmine, you’re doing fantastic.)