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A Season of Rest

I have talked with so many people lately that have identified being “SO tired.” As we enter into the fall where we watch animals migrate and start to hibernate and we prepare our gardens for winter, it seems natural that we are preparing for rest.

But why are we so much more tired this year? Lots of reasons. We are COVID-weary, having assumed that by now the pandemic would be over. Our “surge capacity is depleted,” meaning we have been operating in an ever-changing, stressful state and have exhausted the physical and emotional resources that we rely on to manage change. We are grieving the loss and separation from so much (people, places, and normalcy).

So what can we do?

  • Give ourselves permission to rest and not feel like we have to do all the things.

  • Find ways to communicate to our bodies that we are safe and calm.

In the book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, Dr. Nagoski and Dr. Nagoski talk about the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes from chronic stress. They suggest that even when we can’t change the stressors in our lives, we can work on regularly bringing our bodies back to a calm place through physical activity, breathing, positive social interaction, laughter, affection, crying, and creative expression.

  • Embrace the fall.

In Denmark, there is a practice of hygge (engaging in activities that bring a feeling of coziness and contentment). In the midwestern United States, we have this same association with the season of autumn: warm drinks, savory foods, fires, and sweaters. Celebrating fall is synonymous with honoring and celebrating rest and slowing down.

So curl up in a blanket and grab your pumpkin latte. It is time to rest.

Stacey Patterson, LCPC

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