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  • Writer's pictureJenny

Exploring Our Relationship with Rest

This month’s theme is both immensely needed and also sometimes really difficult for us to access or have a supportive relationship with.


It’s a BIG, HUGE healing concept to explore both for myself and for the folks I work with, especially around those of us dealing with overwhelm and burnout.

We have a lot of messaging and stories around rest. That rest is maybe not for us. That it’s lazy, indulgent, selfish or a waste of time.

We, most of whom are women in this space, have been sold a really insidious lie that while we are ‘meant to be’ healers, caregivers and space holders for others, we aren’t really supposed to be those things for ourselves. We are often after-thoughts in our own lives and in particular when it comes to rest. Essentially, we can be cup givers but if we look at how and where and when we fill our own cups, we can be at a bit of a loss. We haven’t necessarily been taught or shown the importance of and how to rest. Not only is rest essential to our heart and soul centred living but, actually, we are worthy of it. We are worthy of good, proper, restorative rest just because we are human beings in this living space.

We could explore the roots of why this is. It’ll be a little different for each of us. It could be how things were modelled for us by the women folk in our lives, it could be a story that was created about us, it could be that we have heard over and over the messages of hustle and ‘hard work’ being where value lies. It could be because the systems of our culture are purposely set up to keep us grinding and grinding. There is a weird (and gross) kind of sensationalism placed on being exhausted and overworked.

Giving women space and time to rest; to consider and learn about themselves and feel into things and process things and release things and connect to their intuition. Oft.

It's no wonder that this could be a fearful thing for some. Thinking, feeling, rested women? Scary beans I’m sure.

I was ‘gifted’ this label of lazy when I was a kid by a parent. I was a ponderer. A sensitive, empathic, feeling being who loved books and nature (watching the clouds and rainbows and dew on the grass and ripples on the water). I was imaginative and creative and lived in my own wee bubble sometimes. I had ups and downs of energy and was highly sensitive to others and the energies around me. I worked hard when I needed to and would spend a lot of time doing and exploring and figuring things out and then I would also spend a lot of time in rest mode; observing, imagining, learning, daydreaming.

My younger me knew what I am relearning now. That there is time for making, doing, caregiving, working and there is time for feeling, processing, releasing, intuiting.

Ebbs and flows and phases and cycles and all the good, good things that Nature teaches us.

I’m 44 years old and I’m rediscovering this way of being for myself.

This blog (and podcast and April’s newsletter and posts) are being created today because my body is tired. It needs rest so it’s time for my brain to shine. It’s brain work time.

Other times I need to give my brain a break so it’s busy hands and body moving time.

Sometimes I don’t have a choice in the type of work I have to do so I build in restful moments to sustain me.

Or I’m learning to.

I’m still figuring it all out.

What I do know though is that we get to reimagine and recreate a relationship around rest for ourselves. One without guilt or shame. One where we don’t have to ‘earn’ the rest that we deserve simply because we are here now living this life in these times of ours.

Below I’ll share with you some coaching and Tarot insights around how to explore your relationship to rest, how to consider the different types of rest you may need to engage in as well as some practical resting activities because maybe, just maybe, the way you considered rest for yourself isn’t actually restful at all.

Why Rest?

I mean, it seems silly to write this out because we all feel like we ‘know’ rest is important but do we actually KNOW, know? How many times do we ‘rest’ but then start multitasking our rest (organising, shopping, checking in, connecting, planning etc)?

Rest allows us to come back to our centres. It allows us to check in with ourselves and see how we are doing. It allows us to spend time getting to know ourselves. It soothes and repairs our muscles and bones and brains and nervous systems. It allows us to hear or feel our intuition and maybe connect to the downloads and messages that are right there trying to get through to us. Rest lets us explore our magic and our dreams and our wants and needs.

Rest is a pause.

Rest is nourishment.

Rest is RESTorative.

When we engage with rest, we show the world around us that we are worthy of rest and so are they.

Rest and The Star

The Star is one of the most potent healing cards in the deck. It is purposeful, restorative healing. The Star follows The Tower with its big tectonic shifts and the examining and possible rebuilding of our foundation. In the Tower there is the sense that something has been burned and cleared away and so the waters of The Star are pretty darn needed. We take from the calm, shallow, warm healing waters and pour it on ourselves and our surroundings. This card is about making a practice and environment out of our healing and a big part of that is how we set ourselves up with rest. This rest is the rest that is needed when maybe we are in deep overwhelm or approaching/coming out of burnout or have maybe been through a big changing/transition time. It is the ‘first response’ type of rest. Like, get this woman some water and a place to lie down. Take the water and let it cool you. Let it also nourish the ground and space around you. What needs to be accessible for you at this time so that you can fully and properly and deeply rest (so that you can engage with some healing)? This energy can feel almost like it needs to happen to us or FOR us. It is necessary.

Restful Retreat and the Queen of Cups

The Queen of Cups is a massively important card for us healers, leaders and space holders (teachers, nurses, counsellors, mums, doctors, readers, mediums, caregivers). Anyone who does any kind of King of Cups work must be very much connected to the Queen of Cups. Lindsay Mack called this card ‘Sacred Retreat’. We have to know when to go in and nurture ourselves and fill up our cups so that we can give. Not just so that we can give (we are allowed to have a full cup always just because that is our right to) but especially when we are cup fillers and givers. Going in and away and retreating so that we can be replenished and resourced properly is crucial. So often we can see this need for others but we sometimes struggle to see the need or know what this looks like for ourselves. I’ve been pulling The Star and the Queen of Cups A LOT this month. It is also my Star year so I'm listening. I am getting really clear and practical about what ‘sacred retreat’ looks like for me. I have created a morning sanctuary for myself where I can breath and read and pull cards and ponder and write and reflect and just be. This allows me to enter into the world in a more grounded and self supportive way (usually). I get up early to do this. It has become something that I want (and need) to be dedicated to because I have found something that works and that serves an aspect of the Queen of Cups work.

Our Relationship with Rest:

When someone mentions rest to you or you consider rest for yourself, what comes up? What are your first thoughts? What feelings? Are they critical, sceptical or even, maybe, mean? If so, who’s voice are those thoughts and beliefs speaking to you from? A family member, your culture, religion or maybe capitalism? Do you feel you deserve rest? Do you believe you have to earn it? Does it feel safe for you? Getting curious about this is the first step to reimagining and recreating a system of rest for yourself.

Considering Our Own Needs

The only way we can properly give ourselves the rest that is best and most supportive is to get to know ourselves pretty well. Some of us need more and less rest than others for a variety of reasons. Some of us have more sensitivities that means we need to rest more often or for longer and deeper. Some of us can work hard and fast with the support of resting little and often. Some of us need to isolate ourselves or ground ourselves in calm quiet.

Knowing the pace we work best at, the cycles of our months and seasons, our energy levels and how they change, what our capacities are, how we know when we are fully charged (with full cups) and when we aren’t is really important.

We also need to know which kind of rest is needed.

  • Brain Rest: Do we often consider giving our brain rest or do we usually consider rest a body thing? Our brains can be very, very busy places. They have to make constant decisions, keep us alive, keep us safe, consider all possible circumstances and all the things that could possibly go wrong, and whatever happened to that crush you had back in primary school and how on earth is asparagus a thing? When my brain is ON ONE with the mean internal dialogue or worst case scenario thinking, I need to do simple, repetitive, mundane or creative things with my hands and body so that my brain is either distracted or focussed or so that it can switch off. Playing music, organising a drawer, reading, meditating, breathwork, baking, being shitty at something new, painting, etc. Notice how your brain feels when you do certain activities. When is your brain most rested and calm? Do more of that.

  • Body Rest: This one is maybe more familiar to us. We can feel when our body is tired, sore, overworked. We can often feel it but don't always know how to rest it or feel that we are deserving of resting it. We have been trained to punish our bodies in a lot of ways. Rest is scientifically required for our optimum health. If you need science to give yourself permission, science has your back. There may be periods of time where we require more body rest than others (certain times of the month or year, after certain activities or work, high stress times). Can you be a partner with your body and see where that takes you? What are your body’s warning signs or rested signs?

  • Sensory Rest: This rest is so important, particularly for our nervous systems. We are bombarded with sensory and processing things all the time. Screens and noise and smells and visuals and traffic, music, chatter, questions, lights…it’s a lot. Sometimes we need to give ourselves some time and space to get really quiet. Where there aren’t as many sensory processing things expected of us. Anywhere that we feel overstimulated is a good indication of sensory overload for us. Can we find ways to quieten that down for a bit? Swimming, slow walking in the fields and reading are big supports for me in this area. Some folks need focussed sounds or music, naps, time to close their eyes, baths, time in a darkened room, distracting visuals and processing movements. This is very dependent on our sensory needs and ways of working and very much worth exploring.

Building Rest into our Every Day

Some folks require big periods of restorative rest where that is their only priority. The hope, though, is that we can create and build-in mindful rest into our everyday lives so that we can support ourselves where we are at and maybe prevent the overwhelm, stress, illness and/or burnout that comes from, you know, not listening to or giving ourselves what we may need.

Resting in Busy Times (Knight of Swords)

Every single one of us knows that we can’t always give ourselves the rest that serves us best. We can’t always rest when we think or feel that we need to. But we can certainly support ourselves in a busy time so that we don’t overly deplete ourselves. The first thing to remember in these moments is that we are capable of pushing hard for certain periods of time. We are often capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for and also, if we know that there is an endpoint to this and that we know how to give ourselves the rest we need after, we can often keep going in a more calm and measured way. If we have learned what is really restful for us, we can also build in moments of rest throughout our day to keep us going. Maybe 5 minutes of stretching, a cup of tea looking out the window, 10 meditative breaths, a 15 minute walk outside at lunch, giving yourself a hand massage, reading a chapter of a book, 10 minutes in child’s pose, a big hug from a loved one. Life can be a lot sometimes and we STILL deserve rest.

Asking for Support and Delegation (10 of Wands)

When considering rest and how to build-in more meaningful rest into our daily lives, it’s also important to consider the support available for you and if there are things (activities, responsibilities, jobs, roles, etc) that you are holding that aren’t actually for you to hold and do anymore. In the 10 of Wands there’s all these wands; too many to carry. Which are yours to keep, which are someone elses to carry and which ones are unnecessary and more of a burden so can be left behind? What are we saying yes to and what are we saying no (or no more) to?

Jessica Dore says in her book ‘Tarot for Change’ that if there is a choice between a resentful yes and a guilty no, go with the guilty no because the guilt is usually misplaced.

And that spoke to my soul.

Whatever your relationship is with rest and where you are on your rest journey, I hope you found some of these considerations helpful. Even if it’s just to give yourself the permission you need to admit and own that maybe, just maybe, you are deserving and worthy of making rest a part of your life.

If this is something you feel you could use a little more support with or insights around, have a look on the website to see if we may be a good fit to work together. I offer both Tarot readings, readings with coaching and 1:1 coaching sessions around themes like this.

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