Have you ever had days where you’re just really tired?
One of them was yesterday.
I had just got back the day beforehand from a 57 mile weekend of running. My sleep had been dreadful, my appetite meant I had eaten sporadically (well, but not ‘well’, if you catch my drift) and I was just cream crackered.
I polished off a lot of Easter chocolate, added some bread (which a femme spook friend of mine would likely approve of) and then just collapsed on to my bed.
My beloved cat then leapt up by my side and settled down close, purring as he curled up next to me.
His deep, humming resonation seemed to speak to me – “Yes, it’s alright to be tired.”
Of course, this was my cat’s philosophy. He’s a cat.
When a cat is tired they leap up on to their cat tower, bundle up their body and nap the day away. Alternatively they spread their entire body out, declaring their right to a comfortable space, before soothing themselves in to a slumber.
Not once does a cat question if this is reasonable or not.
Not once do they think about writing deadlines, societal expectations, or whether or not they’re “doing enough.”
A cat is wise enough to know that if their body is tired then they need to rest.
Rest is very important.
I remember a while back I was listening to a podcast talking about sleep. We have discovered a lot about sleep recently. For example, we now know that sleep is one of the major ways that we process information from each day. We know that it regulates appetite hormones, mood hormones, health outcomes and so much more.
We also know that we need at least 7 hours of it per day to function at our best, and that catching up on ‘sleep debt’ doesn’t work very well.
On this podcast they mentioned that if you miss just 1 hour of sleep each night for a week (7 days) you have essentially missed an *entire night of sleep* that you cannot just easily nap back.
That was a sobering realisation for me.
And, the thing is, we live in a society that almost penalizes us for trying to get enough rest.
Our worth is often rated by our productivity – our business.
Even when we’re not working we’re trying to tick off a certain amount of social media posts, browsing our phones, watching TV, doing chores.
It’s gotten to the point where we can hardly distinguish between being productive and simply doing things for the compulsion of doing things, because rest is not a socially acceptable option.
Rest, has been made a luxury.
But rest should never be that.
Our bodies rely on rest in order to recover. Our cells, our muscles, every aspect of ourselves needs periods of rest in order to replenish, repair, and grow anew for the next challenge that we face. And if we’re always working at 60-70% effort we will never be able to reach our full potential when we truly want to.
Cat’s rest shamelessly for a reason.
They have darted around, groomed themselves, sought their pray, and made good of their time, but they know that if they don’t rest when their body tells them to then they will be weaker the next time they attempt their tasks.
If a cat does not gets its nap, then that’s when funny internet memes are made.
We owe ourselves more than a life relegated to being a cat internet meme.
That’s why I felt absolutely no shame yesterday when I was tired…well, it’s why when I noticed that shame, at least, I decided to challenge my thoughts and allow myself the rest my body was crying for. And, you know what? I was better off for it.
Your worth in this world will never be diminished for having to rest.
Sometimes you might even need to rest more than usual, and that’s okay too.
I’ve noticed that whenever I’m having a poor mental health bout my body just screams for me to slow to, to sleep more, to rest more, and I think it’s so easy for us to beat ourselves up if this happens, but we’d be foolish to ignore it.
Believe it or not, our bodies are very often on our sides, even if we have a different idea of what they should be giving us.
If you are screaming for rest then, chances are, you need it. You deserve it. And you should never deprive yourself of that joy.