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Amira McLaughlin

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Knowing the benefits of rest is one thing. Taking consistent action in a world that values being on the go is another. Sometimes resting can make you feel guilty and sometimes people direct their opinions at you when you take time for rest. It’s important to create a rest mindset without feeling guilty.

Rest makes it possible to meet the expectations life has. Resting restores and energizes people so they can more effectively show up on and off-duty. The problem is, it’s become normal to feel frazzled and live in a perpetual state of tiredness. Taking too much time for rest can look selfish, irresponsible, lazy, and comes with a price tag – not everything is going to get done from time to time when you add rest into the mix.  

Resisting the guilty feelings and standing up to the critics can be hard, but it can be done. Try these three steps to help create a rest mindset without feeling guilty.

Step #1: Set reasonable limits and stick to them. The first step in creating a rest mindset without guilt is to set reasonable limits and stick with them. Creating reasonable limits that make the most sense for you and your family is a fine start. If you simply can’t work overtime or you must have two days in a row off between work schedules, then that’s what it takes. 

Once you’ve set reasonable boundaries, you must stick to them. If you compromise or waiver, it sends a message that your limits are negotiable, and they won’t be taken seriously. If you create your boundaries and hold firm, people will adjust and respect them over time. 

Note: Boundaries that are over the top or detract too much from the greater good might be unreasonable. Make sure your boundaries are logical and allow for you to still be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem. 

Step #2: Anticipate resistance and make a plan. Generally, you are setting a boundary because someone or something has encroached into your personal or metaphorical space, zapping your energy. If this is the case, boundaries may come with resistance. Anticipate the resistance and make a plan. 

If you know you simply can’t babysit for a friend because they are beginning to take advantage of your generosity, consider setting a limit, and solving a problem at the same time. An example might be sharing what days and times you are available for watching their child and offering the names of daycares or pre-schools that offer care. 

Note: People resist change and often their immediate reaction is negative. Be prepared for people to react to your boundaries and plan to not let their reaction deter you from setting healthy boundaries for your rest.  

Step #3: Encourage others to adopt a rest mindset. Part of having successful boundaries without guilt is encouraging others to do the same. People resist changing less if they are part of a team. As you set healthy boundaries without feeling guilty encourage others and respect their choices as well. The domino effect will help everyone around you.

Note: Some people need a nudge to change their mindset. Be encouraging and help educate others about the benefits of resting without feeling guilty.

Remember rest restores you so you can show up powerfully. That’s nothing to feel guilty about. Resting is a responsible and necessary thing to do. Take these steps and soon you and those around you will be resting easier. 

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