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I just got back from a walk.
It’s cold, but I was bundled up, so it felt lovely.
I walked, I breathed, I looked at the world around me. I felt my body moving in space and felt my breath moving through my nose and occasionally heard birds chirping. I noticed my thoughts and I let them go and I got lost in thought and I came back to the moment.
I feel calm, centered, relaxed.
I’ve been focusing on rest these last years and tuning into what I really need. I’ve learned to take it easy, to do nothing sometimes, to ease expectations, to allow myself to do what really feels good and right to me.
I’ve noticed patterns that can lead to unnecessary stress and burnout and I’m usually good about reorienting myself if I notice myself slipping into some of those patterns.
I’ve learned more about my own self and my own needs—what energizes me, what brings me feelings of peace and centeredness and groundedness, how my energy levels work, and what I love to do and prioritize each day.
And I’ve learned that there are different kinds of rest, that I feel different kinds of “tired.”
I’ve noticed that sometimes when I think I feel tired, I realize I’m not actually tired, at least in the “I need to sleep” kind of way.
Instead, in these moments, I’ve seen that it feels more like my mind is tired. My mind needs a break.
Our minds get tired and they also need rest.
Too many of us are overstimulated. Our minds are “on” all day, and we go from one mind-oriented activity to the next.
We look at our phones and scroll on social media and read the news and message people and watch videos and listen to music or podcasts and go to jobs that have to do with mind-oriented tasks. Then we go home and do other things that take mental stimulation, that are mind-oriented.
But this isn’t sustainable, and it doesn’t feel good.
If we self-inquire, we’ll see that it doesn’t really work. We might try to read a book after work, but we’ll realize we’re not actually absorbing the words, or we might have the TV on, but our minds are zoning out.
We need to give ourselves breaks. We need to give ourselves space. We need to give our minds space to rest.
In these moments when our minds our tired, when our minds need a break, maybe we can walk or stretch or move our bodies in some other way. Maybe we can meditate or drink a cup of coffee or tea mindfully, slowly, in silence. Maybe we can write or journal or color or draw. Maybe we can just sit or lie down and do nothing at all.
If you turn inward, tune into yourself, you’ll be able to feel into what you need.
So, start to pay attention to how you feel.
Observe how you feel when you feel tired, and inquire within. Are you really tired? Do you need sleep? Do you need rest?
Does your mind need a break?
What can you do? What do you feel like you need?