Why is it so hard to rest?

by Brandie Mitchell, RN

As we head into fall and the inevitable cold and flu season, I’m taking a moment to reflect on something that has been on my mind for a while...why is it so hard to rest?

Whether it's turning off the phone an hour before bed, sleeping when baby sleeps, giving ourselves the rest we need post-birth, or even sitting down and mindfully breathing for a minute - why is it so dang hard? 

Why do we, as women, push and push until we end up depleted, angry, exhausted, and even really sick? 

I ponder this with tons of grace towards us. There are so many demands, so many needs, and we tend to say yes more than we say no.

But it’s more than that.

In my own journey with slowing down and my recovery from overdoing, I’ve found that it goes even deeper than boundaries, asking for help, and taking naps. At the core, this busy-ness addiction is about our beliefs about our worth and value. Like, do we believe we are worthy even if we’re not producing and getting sh*t done?

As Kate Northrup says in her book Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Busy Moms,

So many of us have been raised to believe that our worth is equal to our accomplishments. That we must earn our deserving of life and all things good through doing. But this couldn’t possibly be true if we also believe, as I do, that our worth is inherent, that no person is born more or less worthy than another, that we are all children of God/Goddess and that we deserve to be here no matter how high we climb on the ladder of success.

I’m so deeply grateful (and excited!) that so many of us are waking up to our inherent worth and value, thanks to the work of Brené Brown and so many others. It’s actually part of the dismantling of the patriarchy in all areas, healthcare included. Before you roll your eyes, let me explain.

All things have a masculine and feminine energy. And I’m not talking about whether we identify as male or female, or any nuance of that - I’m speaking to the traditional qualities of the masculine and the feminine.

Take a look:

Masculine and Feminine.png

Currently, our society values the qualities of the masculine over the qualities of the feminine. As we wake up, choose to slow the f down a bit and live with intention, we participate in this shift from a dominance of masculine qualities to the inclusion of the feminine qualities in all of us, especially those of us who identify as women.

We stop glorifying busy as the definition of success and importance.

Our female bodies have an inherent rhythm, a cycle that mimics the seasons and the moon cycle. We’re so connected to nature and we don’t even realize it. We were simply never taught to honor our natural rhythms because the tone of our society has leaned more towards the linear, objective, masculine mental model.

So it’s an unlearning and a relearning. Unlearning the masculine as the only way, and relearning the feminine as a new way. We are discovering that deep inner knowing that we are inherently worthy no matter what we do, produce, or accomplish.

I’m not saying it’s bad, wrong, or unhealthy to be a hustler, getting sh*t done and accomplishing amazing things in this world. I personally love doing and feeling productive! I am saying that the way we approach our goals, dreams, and work can make a tremendous difference in our personal wellbeing. It can mean the difference between burnout, chronic fatigue, and disease or vibrant health, a deep sense of fulfillment, and feeling connected and well.

Want to go deeper with this?

Knowing about this root cause of busy-ness and overdoing is one thing…practicing a new way of being is a whole other adventure.

Earlier this year, I created The Well Woman Collective for women navigating big life transitions to practice radical self-care in a safe, supportive community so that we can meet anxiety and overwhelm with mindfulness and love, reclaim our wellbeing, and fiercely embody our strength and purpose. 

Led by Registered Nurses who are also certified as Coaches, this community will give you the tools, support, and guidance to dive deep into what it means to be well in today’s complex world. Our Collective offers an opportunity to integrate the heaps of information we are inundated with on a daily basis to move from knowing about to actually practicing wellness in our lives. 

By coming together, we can collectively explore what works as we discover a new way of living that honors our bodies, our cycles, and our deepest needs.

Join other women reclaiming our wellbeing one cycle at a time in The Well Woman Collective, our group coaching program facilitated by Nurse Coaches HERE.