Why Is Rest the New Luxury For Us? 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo via Unsplash

Last week I said yes over and over again to mounting commitments, when I should have said no. I feel lazy for napping as my daughter does so I work instead. My body aches for the restorative power of sleep, yet I resist relentlessly.

All of this has me wondering if you and I have convinced ourselves (especially Mamas) that rest is the new luxury? 

Why Can’t We Rest?
Why do we work ourselves into frenzies, desperate to placate others, running marathons for fleeting acceptance and pats on the back? Hashtags like #TeamNoSleep, #Hustle and #MomBoss fill our social media timelines. No one wants to become a slacker, and admit fatigue plagues them.

Nearly all of my close girlfriends carry exhaustion like shawls, rest barely attainable in the chaotic world of non-stop productivity. Some day, we wistfully say, “we’ll sleep,” but there is always more – an endless barrage of family and career obligations, another email to send (I am the queen of that line) or phone calls and meetings. It NEVER stops. EVER. These  dizzying to-do-lists squelch opportunities to live fully present.

According to an article in Forbes magazine which cited a study on multitasking, our brains can only handle so much information:
“Recent research shows that not only does multitasking not save time, it actually hinders your ability to operate efficiently. Chief among the evidence, a study from Stanford University revealed that the brains of people who regularly attempt to do multiple tech-oriented tasks at once–such as e-mailing, IM-ing, watching TV and browsing the Internet–pay a high price…”

Before we know it, the day is done and we remain as disconnected from rejuvenation as when it began.

Doing Less, but Doing it Well…
What if we hit our collective reset buttons and committed to doing less while embracing excellence? I listened to Bishop T.D. Jakes discuss the “power of focus” recently, and was struck by the simple and profound concept he put forth: not a mastery of multitasking, but the art of laser focusing on your purpose.

Our purpose is not merely what we do, it is the force which propels us forward and imbues our life with meaning. It’s why we are on the planet. Essentially it is our offering to the world. If you and I allow the exhaustion of juggle and noise to deplete it, we can help no one, least of all ourselves.

Let’s all slow down, and stop making rest a luxury.

Inspiration for Your Ears & Soul: From Global Music to Sustainable Shopping & Mompreneurs 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Lianne La Havas performs at the North Sea Jazz Festival

 

The language of music is universal. Don’t you love that?

I spent lots of time listening to artists on NPR Tiny Desk series. One of my new favorites is Lianne La Havas! I get chills listening to her.

I also discovered Concha Buika from this amazing NPR Music Tiny Desk concert. She sings with such intensity and passion! Christine Salem is another new find; listen to her spirited performance here.

Esperanza Spalding is back with a unique sound and style. Loving her flow. Check out this performance at the White House of the jazz classic, “Sunny Side of the Street.”

What if we could purchase sustainable products? It’s a reality over at Buy Me Once where they are saying no to our throw-away culture.

Successful Mompreneur Lakesha Cole on creating a thriving online business in spite of challenges.

You can find lots of awesome content on The Trailblazers Podcast which highlights prominent entrepreneurs of color.

Productivity tips from Mompreneurs.

Ernestine Johnson’s empowering poetic remix of Beyonce’s Formation.

6 Things You Can Do Now to Reclaim Your Joy 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Graphic via Mallory Cruz’s blog

Years ago I heard a minister say don’t wish for happiness because it’s based on happenings, instead seek joy.

One of my good friends and I talked this week about some of our frustrations, and she mentioned how exhausting social media  becomes – managing your profile, keeping up with comments, but mostly she despises how miserable she feels after looking at everyone’s seemingly ideal lives. But are they perfect? Not really.

No one, no matter how intelligent, beautiful, or wealthy escapes issues or struggles. Some folks are just better at camouflaging.

Our conversation and my own week (an emotionally rocky one) prompted me to consider reclaiming joy, and what simple things (starting with 6) we can all do throughout our day-to-day lives.

Here are my thoughts: 

1. Practice Gratitude – Staying grateful (especially during difficulties) is transformational. It’s an instant mood elevator. My bestie Shan and I discussed this last night.

I believe what we focus on expands, so looking towards our blessings and thanking God for them ushers in more abundance (whether it’s through finances, relationships, etc.)

And when we put it into practice daily we permanently shift our mentality to a higher vibration.

2. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else – Theodore Roosevelt said “comparison is the theif of joy.” Ever since I heard those words years ago, I held on to their power. Each one of us is at different places, and stopping to compare ourselves to others only breeds misery. Focus on your unique gifts, your voice, and you will illuminate the world.

Photo Credit: Roksolana Zasiadko

3. Take Regular Social Media Breaks & Filter  –  Our brains are miraculous, but there are limitations. They can only hold so much. Sometimes, actually quite often, we need a break from the incessant rate of images and text bombarding us on social media platforms.

No one says you have to scope, tweet, etc. everyday. And if you’re one of those folks who compares your life to others (or the version they show us), all the more reason to step away for a minute (particularly if you are in a tough season).

Filter what you ingest, too. Skip  dismal news stories some days, or debating with someone of an opposing political or religious view. I am not advocating living in a bubble, but we have to know what we can tolerate on an energetic level. It’s really that simple.

4. Rest –  I know this is a tough one, but your body and mind will thank you. I usually have to force myself to sleep, but when I do, the next morning I am much more capable of taking on the world.

As a Mom, I know there are times when it’s particularly challenging. Work towards devoting small chunks of time throughout the day   (5, 10 or 15 minutes, etc.) for rest, and do absolutely nothing.

My good friend Michelle over at Surviving a Creative Life is excellent at reminding me to take breaks and rest. I think accountability partners are key in this whole commitment to rest. Have someone in your life challenge you when you’re not resting enough, and then listen. Rest.

5. Take in Natural Beauty – Sounds easy but in the age of iPhones, Androids and other electronic devices this is difficult for many of us. Go for a walk, take a long drive, mediate in the park; allow the beauty surrounding you to nourish your spirit.

Photo Credit: Shannon Braxton

6. Read or Listen to an Inspiring Story Misty Copeland, Bessie Coleman, Lisa Nichols, Angela Davis and countless other women inspire me with their determination and strength. In pieces of their story, I see my own.

Bessie Coleman, pioneer aviator. In 1922, she became the first African-American woman to stage a public flight in America.

I am reminded that no struggle is eternal and I am equipped to walk and live in joy!

🔽

How do you reclaim your joy? Don’t be shy. 🙂 Share in the comments.