Why Is Rest the New Luxury For Us? 

Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

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
Follow Me:
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.

How Gratitude Is Helping Me Grow

Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

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
Follow Me:

Photo Credit: Natasha Vasiljeva

Most of us think of gratitude in November, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, afterwards we tuck it away like a worn sweater whose use has long since passed.

I am coming to learn gratitude is a daily practice, as it helps us see the world anew, perhaps connecting with beauty in hard places, or appreciating the miraculous wonders within the mundaneness of life.

The other day, suddenly, I felt weary, the sadness of some challenges facing my family took root, and a kind of emotional paralysis emerged. Only Nai and I were home, as she watched a little morning cartoons, while I read about healing.

I decided to call a church for prayer. The Pastor’s warm voice immediately placed me at ease; he asked what led me to reach out. I simply cried. In between sobs, I heard him ask me something no one ever had on a prayer line: What are you thankful for?

I quickly rambled off my family, and he firmly nudged me to “keep going.” “We’re celebrating  God’s faithfulness right now.” As I continued declaring the blessings (a home, doing what I love, a fulfilling marriage, etc.) my despair slowly eviscerated.

Again, later that week, God revealed the importance of gratitude through a new blogging friend, Afrotastic Lady on Instagram. She posted her gratitude list for the month of January, and I thought why not join in and share mine with you all. 

These six blessings are guideposts on this renewed commitment to thankfulness in all areas of my life. 

1. God’s Grace  – We are all undeserving of His grace and yet it is freely given – whether we are loosing our patience with the kiddos or hubby (yeah that’s me on lots of days, y’all), crying out of sheer exhaustion, or panicking over something trivial, God’s grace remains. Our besties, parents, husbands, kids, no one can do this for you and I – only God. 

2. The light of Nai’s Smile – Her smile illuminates the darkest of moments; all the world disintegrates when my eyes meet hers. Our daughter is a gift from God, and I thank Him for her each day.

3. Enduring Love – My husband, family, and friends teach me love endures, transcends time and space, past and present. It’s boundless, if we are faithful and committed to cultivating it within our own hearts. 

4. Friendship – Casual friendships do not exist for me. We are either in this until the wheels fall off, or mannerly acquaintances. 

God blessed me with amazing friends, women who are my sisters. Our conversations and laugher are a continuum of joy; we support each others dreams and comfort one another through sorrow and disillusionment. Chel, Shan, Qiana, Amelia, Shelly and Dionne, I am grateful to call you sisters.

5. Solitude –  I barely pee alone most days (toddler Mom life), so getting a few minutes to myself is rare. Those two hours Nai naps most days renew me in ways I never imagined. There is beauty in stillness.

6. Organic Fruit Smoothies – Okay, this sounds silly, right? But seriously, y’all, I get my whole entire life on organic smoothies I make every morning. Forget coffee and tea, this is the way I jumpstart the day! 


Love to hear what you are thankful for this month in the comments. Come on, don’t be shy! 
  

Making Time For You, Inspired Reading: The Fringe Hours

Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

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
Follow Me:
Photo Credit: The Mom Creative Blog

 

“One always has time enough, if one  will apply it well.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Are you like me? Do your days move at warp speed, and by the time you catch your breath it’s midnight? Adulthood can feel like one long string of obligations, especially for women.Beginning in childhood, society says put yourself last. As kids, how many of us played with dolls that cried or needed their diapers changed? Before we knew ourselves, we learned to care for others – starting with the toys.

Even in the 21st century, with more women in leadership roles, our culture continues to revere a kind of femininity rooted in service and selflessness. Yet moments spent alone pursuing those passions that nourish our souls rejuvenates us. We become better mothers, wives, friends, siblings and professionals. Why? Because there is time to see us fully – not only the roles we fill. I know, you’re thinking, who has time to write poetry, paint, or hit the gym for yoga class? I’m running a household and managing business obligations.

Well, the truth is you and I have more time than we realize. While reading one of my favorite blogs, (in) courage me, I discovered a new book, The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner, mom, blogger, crafter and marketing professional. I wanted to know more. Where are these hours? How can I discover and maximize them?

Fringe hours are small pockets in our days – early mornings before the house is chaotic, lunch breaks, nap times (for stay-at-home / work-from-home Moms), or evenings after the kids fall asleep. These are opportunities to transform mundane moments into periods of creation and growth.

How do we get there though? Well unlike other books tackling time management, Turner doesn’t start out by giving us a system to implement. She urges digging deeper with some critical questions: What stops us from putting personal time at the top of our lists? Do obligations to everyone else feel more important? It is vital to examine these self-imposed blocks.

The late writer James Baldwin wisely said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Balance, then, is at the core of fostering time for ourselves. I hear you mumbling. Who ever achieves this? Well, one of the lessons I am beginning to learn is balance changes all the time, its constant shifting and negotiating, but without it, life swallows us. Here balance is defined in a way rarely heard: “emotional stability (how does what we are doing make us feel) + a satisfying arrangement of elements.”

Essentially, is the calendar full of draining responsibilities, or have you found a way to make self care a priority in the midst of it all?  Oh, yes. Its one area of constant push and pull for me (and I am sure lots of you, too); giving ourselves permission to enjoy me time minus the guilt.

There are clear areas of focus on the road to a more fulfilling life, Turner insists: “Understanding self-care habits and identifying your passions and available time are just the first steps to living a life that prioritizes you and your needs. Once you commit to this lifestyle, embracing additional practices such as prioritization and accepting help can make a huge difference in your well being.”

“Busy people get things done.”
Trudy Leocadio (my very wise Mom)

This is a book full of actions, daily steps we can begin taking to discover fringe hours (track your days for one week) and maximize them (learning to say no, and being prepared to use unexpected time, i.e. long waits at the doctor’s office by keeping your journal, iPad, etc. on hand). Each chapter concludes with a few sentences of motivation to elevate our spirits and assure us others join us in the journey. There are gems of wisdom like this:

“You can organize your time in such a way that prioritizes yourself. Sometimes this means saying no or skipping dishes. Creating boundaries with our time and in our relationships is an important and healthy way to live a life that models self-care.”

I urge you not to stifle your gifts because you wear so many hats. We all deserve a full life, one where creativity, joy and freedom flourish. Getting to this place takes some work, and once we are there, it’s about maintaining boundaries, and consistently reminding ourselves that we matter immensely. But it’s worth all the struggle and organization. God did not create us to blend in to the world, but rather to ignite it with our light and purpose. Your legacy matters. Start building it, minute by minute, today.

Connect with the video series of The Fringe Hours on YouTube.

Originally published in Beautifully Said Magazine, the September issue.