When you are self-employed, tired, and feeling stressed. Work gets hard. Business planning, serving our clients, doing the work, it all gets hard.
It’s hard enough to manage and run your own business. So when you add on your role as a caregiver or if you are struggling with chronic health issues, as you well know, it’s a tricky balancing act.
We all know we need to take time to rest, but too often we resist or push it off “until later”, or “when I have the time”.
Why do we do that? Why do we say that? I think it’s because we don’t have the right idea about what rest is and the different types we need.
Today let’s look at the different types of rest the work-from-home entrepreneur needs.
Working From Home
It’s an amazing opportunity. We all started our businesses for different reasons, but for most of us we were looking for flexibility in our schedules, and the freedom to choose the type of work we get to do.
Far too often, what we find is that we’ve created another J-O-B and find our businesses run us instead of the other way around. That’s when we find ourselves saying I’ll rest later, or if I have time I’ll take a break.
And, despite what friends and family may think, we are not sitting at home reading, watching TV, or doing deep cleaning projects. We can’t always change our schedules at the last minute, and we definitely do not have endless amounts of free time.
We have clients to serve, businesses to run, marketing plans to implement, and so much more. We ask a lot of ourselves, our energy, and our brains.
As knowledge-based workers, we use our brains a lot as we do work for our clients and ourselves. Designing, troubleshooting, coaching, fixing, serving, customer service… if your list is anything like mine, it’s a long one.
We use up A LOT of our brain energy as we think through our work each day. And we do a lot of that work sitting at a desk.
Many of us have chronic illnesses that place limits on our mental, emotional, and physical capacities.
No matter how much we love our people and want to help them, caregiving is hard. It takes its toll on us mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
When you consider all that is on our plates, it’s no wonder that so many of us are so tired, feel on the edge of burnout, and wonder what is wrong with us.
It’s a hard place to be in and it’s not something that getting more sleep will be a quick-fix answer.
So what will help?
Understanding the different types of rest we all need.
Next, what types of restful activities do you need?
I’ve been studying rest for years and have realized there are different areas of our lives where we all need to find rest. And after reading the book Sacred Rest by Dr. Saundra Dalten-Smith, I was even more convinced. In her book, she describes 7 different types of rest we all need in our lives.
If you’ve been around my piece of the interwebs for any length of time, I’ve talked often about 5 different areas of rest. Inspired by Dr. Dalten-Smith, and because we are entrepreneurs, I’ve added an 8th to her list of 7.
And I KNOW that sounds scary. That may seem like a long list. But as you will hear, we don’t need all 8 every day all day. We all have seasons in our lives when one area or the other is feeling maxed out and needs extra attention.
So it is good to be aware of the different types of rest we all need. Then you can take stock from time to time and learn to identify when you need to pay attention to or plan for the rest you need.
Let’s look at each area and get an idea of what a restivity plan might look like under each for the stressed-out and self-employed caregiver. Under each area, I’ve listed a set of questions you can start asking to evaluate your current Restivity (or self-care) Plan.
Area #1 – Physical Rest
Remember, physical rest is more than getting more sleep.
There is passive and active rest, there is pacing and learning and honoring your limits.
- For passive rest
- you may need more sleep
- A long hot bath
- Some pampering
- Gentle stretching
- For active rest
- Working out in your garden
- A hike or walk
- The food you eat makes a difference in your physical rest. Eating food that gives life and is easier for your body to use rather than all junk food or foods your body doesn’t react well to.
There are different ways to get physical rest. A good workout or time out in the garden can be as rejuvenating and relaxing as any good night’s sleep.
If you are not getting enough sleep, that’s a good place to start.
Area #2 – Mental Rest:
We use our brains all day long in our business, in our work, in our coaching and serving. We need to give our brains a break.
If you have trouble getting your brain jump-started so you can start your work, or if you often walk into a room and forget why, you probably need some mental rest.
- Leaving enough room between Zoom calls and client calls
- Limiting how many Zoom chats in one day (zoom fatigue is real!!!)
- Leaving our desks, our offices, changing our scenery regularly
- Keeping a central place to jot down notes and ideas
- Braindumping. Stop trying to remember all of it (go listen to Episode 5 where we talk about braindumping to give your brain a break and to help you find clarity.)
Area #3 – Emotional Rest:
People pleasing anyone? Empathetic listener? Work with emotional takers and drainers?
If you feel you have to stuff your emotions away or have nothing left to give a client, friend, family member, or even yourself in need, you may need emotional rest.
Do you have a person who asks you, how are you, really? And really means it. Do you have a safe place to speak up and say, “I’m not okay”?
- Do I need to seek therapy and have a safe and supportive space to share how I’m doing? And get help to manage and process emotions.
- Do I have a journaling practice or morning pages routine to help me get the emotions out rather than stuff them away?
- Do I have “my person” the one I can call, text, or Voxer and ask, do you have a minute?
Area #4: Faith or Spiritual Rest:
If you are feeling a lack of connection, a lack of belonging, a lack of purpose, you may need spiritual rest.
We all need to know we are making a difference and a part of something bigger than ourselves.
- Church, developing a devotional or daily quiet time practice
- Volunteering may be a good choice
- Discover your spiritual gifts and use them
- Developing a prayer and meditation habit
- Keeping a gratitude list
Area #5 – Creative Rest:
You may see the word creative and think of an artist. But if you are a coach, a deep thinker, an innovator, a troubleshooter, or a problem solver, these are all examples of creativity in action.
Feel stuck looking at a blinking cursor? Find your problem-solving skills not functioning like normal? Feel uninspired about what to do with the project in front of you? You may need creative rest.
We can get stuck with so much input we have trouble with the output and implementing what we are learning. You need time to create.
Or, sometimes we’ve focused so much on the output we use up our creative resources. You need to refill the creative well.
- Getting outside and spending time in nature and being in awe and wonder of the natural world can have amazing health benefits, including your creativity.
- In her book, “The Artist’s Way”, Julia Cameron recommends artists’ dates to refill the creative well, find inspiration, and seek beauty.
- Seeking and enjoying beauty, in nature, in art, in well-made food, and more.
- Maybe you need to set aside time to process and get out of your head and make room to create.
- If you are on your computer day, you may need to create something tangible by hand and be able to hold the results of your work in your hand.
Area #6 – Relational Rest:
Do you feel detached? Do you find yourself isolating from others? Or do you notice you are saying yes to every social gathering you get invited to? If so, you may need some social rest.
This can run the gamut for both introverts and extroverts
- Introverts need time alone but can spend too much time alone.
- Extroverts get energy from being with people but also could use some downtime.
- We all have that friend, family member, or client that we do really love and care for, but it’s hard to spend a lot of time with them. Or there is someone who is important to us, but we can’t seem to get enough time with them. It’s important to notice relationships that drain us and those that sustain us.
Area #7 – Sensory Rest
We are constantly bombarded with beeps, alerts, videos, podcasts, social media feeds, music, traffic, clacking of keyboards, the hum of electronics…
If you get headaches, are a highly sensitive person, or feel like all your nerves are just below the surface, sensory rest is something to look into.
Many things and people who are vying for your attention. Many of us have forgotten how to be okay with silence. The thought might even scare us. That means we need it!
- Turn off all devices and just sit in silence
- Get outside and hear the sounds of nature. Waves crashing, a brook babbling, the trees rustling, the wind blowing or birds singing – nature can soothe and heal frazzled senses.
- Engage your 5 senses away from all devices and alerts. Texture, smell, sight, sound, taste.
Area #8 – Work Rest
As entrepreneurs, we also have this little thing in our lives called a business. And it can be all-consuming. We love our work, businesses, clients, and we love helping people.
But we still need a break from our business in order to keep loving it and not let it drain the life out of us.
- Breaks during the day
- Not working 7 days a week
- Actually, taking a vacation!
- Adopting restful habits from the lost above.
We all need to develop the skill and habit of turning off our business owner’s brain and leaving work behind. And it’s hard!!! Adding intentional rest into your schedule can make a significant difference.
Before we talk about what your next steps are, I want to point out one thing. If you review and think through these 8 areas of rest, you may notice a common thread running through each.
In our physical health, our relationships, our spiritual practices, our time, and our businesses.
As entrepreneurs, I can guarantee you we all need to adopt a habit of resting from our businesses. We all need to look at our boundaries and identify which one’s need shoring up and in what areas we need to create new healthy, life giving boundaries.
So what do we do about these 8 areas of rest?
First, don’t tackle all of them at once. That alone can cause undue stress and angst.
Each season of life and business is going to have a unique set of restful needs. We need to review how we are doing regularly and adjust our restful habits and routines as needed..
And don’t compare your restful needs to your colleagues or biz bestie. You each have unique personalities, business styles, learning styles, and services you offer. This means you will not need the same type, rhythm, or amounts of rest.
Instead, Make Your Restivity Plan
Make A Restivity Idea List
A great resource is to take the Rest Quiz from Dr. Saundra Dalten-Smith. You can go to http://restquiz.info// This is a great place to start. And I also highly recommend reading her book for more insights on the different ways rest helps and lack of rest hurts us.
When you consider the different types of rest you need, pick one and make that your focus for the next week.
And make your own Restivity List. A list of simple, easy, restful activities that will help you rest, recharge, and feel inspired.
The ideas and routines on your list will take more of a commitment from you to actually implement them and probably support from others to make it happen. But it is important to consider adding these types of self-care to your schedule for your own health and well-being.
If you would like help creating your Restivity List,
visit SelahStudios.co/rested for my Restivity Idea List.
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, WordPress Website developer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs Oliver & Mochi. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. Marta also fully believes that change starts with gratitude and that gratitude can change everything. Find out how with the “Grateful Friday 7-Days of Gratitude Starter Kit”