Tuning into your physical senses and honouring what your body needs is a challenging practice, especially in a culture that teaches us that our worth comes from our production. We are taught from a young age that to be good, we must be overstretched, overworked, and worn thin. We need to be constantly growing and doing more – being more. So we fill our time with activities and things. We numb our brains with tv and games. We are not comfortable sitting in stillness with ourselves. We have lost the art of quiet and rest. We push our body to its breaking point and then are frustrated and surprised when it breaks.
We need to learn to prioritize ourselves again. And I don’t mean to be self-centred — I mean to be self-rooted and tuned in, to rest when our body needs rest, sleep when our body needs sleep, and go outside when our body is craving the sunshine. We must learn to trust our gut when it tells us something is wrong and follow our intuition when it tells us to slow down or go off script every once and a while.
It is okay to stop. It is okay to rest. It is okay to spend a day curled up in bed. It is okay to turn off your phone and unplug. It is okay to give yourself the time and space you need to feel filled up and whole.
We think we are bad friends, bad employees, and bad leaders when we step away from the noise for a little while. We believe we are selfish if we put any part of ourselves as a priority. Unfortunately, we have come to misunderstand what selfishness really is. Selfishness is about disregarding the other and neglecting to serve the community. The act of taking care of self does not have to come at the cost of service to others; in fact, they co-exist and feed one another. The healthier and more in tune with your intuition you are, the healthier your community is because you have given the people around you permission to rest and heal too.
Further, if you are surrounded by a healthy community where people respect and honour themselves, you learn to take care of and honour yourself too. We disregard the consequences of burnout and stress in the broader community and our loved ones. I would argue we do more damage when we do not rest and heal our bodies, souls, and minds than we do by stepping away for an afternoon, morning, or even *gasp* a whole day in the name of restoration and healing.
This week, take time to be with yourself for a while. Listen to what your body and soul are telling you they need. You might be surprised what good it brings to you and the people around you.