Yesterday I watched the above video from The School of Life (founded by one of my faves, Alain de Botton) about simplifying & quieting your life. The narrator gives us the lovely example of a baby getting overstimulated after a fun but overwhelming party, and at a certain point needing to go sleep it off or be in a quiet space alone.
And yet, he continues, as adults we are generally not as good at offering this kind of downtime to ourselves, at least not when it comes to recognizing our limits and giving ourselves dedicated time to process the things we experience. We might crash out in front of the TV, but that’s not the same as letting ourselves sit around and do nothing but sift through the hours we’ve just lived, mining them for lessons and memories.
He goes on to say that we probably need 10 minutes of processing time for every hour of lived experience, but I’m going to go on record and say that’s a conservative figure for me personally. I need a lot of time alone to noodle on things in order to feel rested and grounded.
And yet, I’m not always great at just letting myself “do nothing”. I always feel like I should be ticking things off or running errands or getting things done. I think this is partially a side-effect of working for myself without the bolstering of a partner’s second income, and partially a side-effect of my personality.
It’s hard to relax when there’s always more to do, but watching this video reminded me that I don’t exactly have a choice. If I don’t want to go into meltdown mode or start getting burned out, prioritizing rest and recovery is not optional, it’s essential. If that means treating myself like an overstimulated baby (pretty accurate, to be honest), so be it. I will feel and perform better afterwards.
How do you rest? Where do you make space for processing time?