As the stay-at-home parent in my family, I struggle with the tension of rest. There are some days when I feel completely drained and I can’t wait for Alison to walk in the door so that someone else can take over watching the kids. The dilemma is that I know that Alison has been busy working all day, too. How can I reconcile handing off the kids when I know that she’s been through more than me? What do you do when you feel exhausted and know there’s no break on the horizon?
I’ve found that with for growth leap and schedule change that my kids go through, I simply have to adapt. There are things that I must do. I must go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. I must eat three meals a day, plus a snack or two. I must drink water. Outside of those needs, the key to feeling rested is not what it seems.
When I feel too tired to pick up or clean the kitchen, that’s exactly what I need to do. I get a burst of energy from accomplishing something. Plus, I always feel better the next day when I don’t have to start by finishing up what I didn’t get done the day before. There’s something about a lack of clutter that is relaxing. The same is true for exercise. My preferred exercise is walking for an hour, or about 4 miles. That steady pace over the course of 60 minutes always leaves me pumped up for the day.
Rest is something deep; it’s finding a sense of peace. You can only get that peace when you fulfill your responsibilities and take care of your physical needs. That may mean waking up earlier, trying a different order of to-dos, or even including your kids in your wellness routine. Laziness likes to dress itself up as rest, but it’s a mistake to fall for that.
When you feel tired and you still have lots more to do, especially at the end of the day, find something that you love and incorporate into your tasks. Enjoy the uninterrupted time, listen to an audiobook or a podcast, or maybe even your parent-only dance mix. You might be surprised just how rested you feel the next morning.