We are living in very interesting times. For months and months, we have lived outside of the regular rhythm of our lives due to pandemic lockdowns and/or restrictions. Our schedules and routines have been significantly altered. And for many of us, living a small life that consists of only our immediate households has become *almost* normal.

And while we may be feeling the lack of socialization and extra-curricular activities, what we may not be noticing is that some of our routines around time off, holidays and intentional rest have disappeared as well. I have heard from many clients and coworkers that with all of this “free time” that we have, we’re filling it with work, school and “to-dos”. People are diving into their work. They’re working late, odd hours. School is ramping up with days filled with lessons, as field trips and collaborative activities are no longer possible. For those schooling at home, it can seem as though there isn’t a way to escape from the work, as it is always present in the background.

We can’t go away on holiday, but we can still work.
We can’t go out for dinner with friends, but we can still clean the house.
We can’t have playdates, but we can do math worksheets.
We can’t visit family out of town, but we can organize the pantry.

This is a crash course for burnout – for all members of the household. It is essential that now, of all times, we purposely create space for rest and for joyful, fun “indulgences”. Our bodies and minds need this time to recharge, especially after a year of our nervous systems running on high-alert.

We must rest because it sends a message to ourselves that it doesn’t always have to be a slog. We do not need to hustle for our value. We are worthy of rest.

We need to rest for clarity, so that we have the composure and presence that is necessary to show up as capable big people for our littles.

We need rest for our sanity, and to bolster our own emotional wellness.

If you, too, feel as though you’re waking up to Groundhog Day every morning, is is time to get intentional about our rest and joy. We can carve out time to be work-and-school-free. We can get creative with what we CAN do, rather than focusing on what we can’t.

This may mean having dedicated times that are without cell phones or laptops or to-dos. It could mean blocking off “personal time” in your calendar. It can mean finding a new hike or take-out spot on the weekend. It might mean buying that book and then ACTUALLY reading it. It might be getting on the floor and playing with your kiddos, without letting your phone or Apple watch distract you.

These dedicated dates of rest and play spark hope. They provide something to look forward to. They nurture connection and relationship – between you and your children, as well as you and your partner. They provide some variety in what can otherwise be a pretty mundane landscape.

Life at home can be deliciously simple, if we don’t let it become solely a place of work. Because this just doesn’t work for us.

We need the break.

Dr V