Permission to Rest and Renew

The “shoulds” rise up when we
even start to think about caring for ourselves –
taking time out to rest
and giving our bodies, minds, and spirits
a chance to be nourished and renewed.

The invitation of winter is to rest –
to lay fallow,
to curl up with a book,
to eat nourishing soups, and to gently
add enough kindling to keep your light softly glowing.

Even bears, birds, and fields need rest.
Everything in nature needs time of not working,
to retreat and be quiet,
so that the soul can awaken
with creativity and desire come spring.

Lisa McCrohan, MA, LCSW-C, SEP

Today, a coaching client of mine asked, “So how do I deal with the ‘shoulds’ that block me from taking care of myself?  The should like ‘I SHOULD be getting the house straightened up before the kiddos come home but I’m so very tired’?”

I talked with this client about how the approach of trying to get rid of of the shoulds doesn’t work.  It takes a lot of effort to try and get rid of the “shoulds.”  The shoulds of “You SHOULD send off that email.” “You SHOULD finish up that report before you go to bed.” “You SHOULD start planning for your big presentation next month.”

And it’s pointless to wait for the “shoulds” to go away on their own (they won’t!).


Imagine “shoulds” as a passenger in the car along for the ride.  They just are here. And YOU have your hand on the wheels.

Shoulds — They.  Are.  Just.  Going.  To. Happen.

And then…add “AND.”  I can have “should thoughts” AND still give myself permission to rest.

Years ago, I announced to myself, “I will NOT go about life, work, parenting, and working for social change feeling depleted.”  I called it the Year of Nourishing Mom. I didn’t write my book that year.  I didn’t create a new online course that year.  I didn’t open more time slots for coaching and psychotherapy clients. I RESTED.  I RENEWED.  And today, I swear, there is a vitality and light flowing through me.  I have created a lifestyle that agrees with my body, mind, spirit, and family.  And I’m a hell of a lot more patient, I’m kinder, and I’m…at peace.

Working without rest and renewal breaks our souls. It diminishes our light and brilliance. It robs us of sharing our vibrancy with the world.

Winter invites us to rest and renew.  Working against the natural invitation of the seasons creates DISharmony within us.  I get it — it’s hard. We live in a society that rewards productivity.  The pressure to “keep going,” care for everyone else but ourselves, produce more, and be depleted keeps women, especially, from embodying and rising in their brilliance — at home and work. It’s a culturally accepted form of oppression.

The truth is:  when your VIBE– your Chi (qi), your Life Force Energy, your Spirit — is stable, replenished, and nourished, creative ideas come more clearly, you produce with more ease, and your soul-confidence deepens.  THAT is the smart way to work.  And it comes from accepting the invitation of each season and honoring it — NOT working against it.  (I wrote a book that goes along with the flow of the seasons; check it out: Gems of Delight!).

A client said today, “It’s not only OKAY to rest, renew, and listen, but it’s NECESSARY.”

YES! That’s it.

Last note:  winter’s invitation is to rest and renew.  You also need a liiiiiittle bit of kindling — some fire — within you to stay warm and to keep you from getting depressed. Not toooooo much “fire,” but just enough to gently invigorate and rejuvinate you.  So, do a few firey yoga asanas.  Go skiing (my new winter sport!). Put on one song and dance.  Generate some heat.

And I promise, in honoring the invitation of winter, your body, mind, and soul will be ready to embrace the invitation of spring with more vitality and courage.



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