This season of the Simplified Organization Audio Blog is excerpts from an hour-long live chat all about resting as a homeschool mom. Find the link below to access the replay in its entirety!
Finally, we have mental rest. And I think this is the category that we are least aware of, but that is actually tripping us up the most. I’m currently reading the book Deep Work by Cal Newport and I wasn’t even expecting it to tie into these ideas that I was having about rest and what we need to do and all that, but it does. So, when we are tempted to zone out it’s because we are overwhelmed, right? We are overwhelmed by all the details, all the distractions, all the things going on in our life, all the people asking us questions all the time, and even sometimes we’re asking ourselves questions all the time. We don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing, we don’t know where the thing is; everything feels like a scramble. Am I right? And, sometimes it’s not because you need physical rest, and it’s not because you need spiritual rest. Sometimes it’s just because life is full of all these inputs and it’s chaotic and overwhelming, and we don’t have what it takes to order it all, to put it into order. It’s all coming out of us and it’s all chaotic and messy, and we don’t know what to do. And then we feel worse because we don’t know what to do with it all. It’s just all coming at us. And, all I can think to do is to just turn it all off.
So, I think if you’re feeling of ‘I need rest’ comes out as ‘turn it all off’ then this is where you need to really start brain dumping and applying and thinking. You don’t necessarily have to assume you have a spiritual problem. We have to make sure that that’s in order first, but it doesn’t necessarily … feeling like you just need to turn it all off, you just can’t handle it anymore, it’s not necessarily a spiritual problem. It’s partly the way our current world is running with the priority on distraction mode, and when we’re in a distracted state that is the opposite of peace. We don’t know how to get to peace. If we are functioning completely in distracted mode all the time we actually lose the ability to basically think in a straight line. And, unless we can think in a straight line we aren’t going to be able to problem solve, we aren’t going to be able to provide the counseling and parenting that our children really need, because it’s so hard to pay attention.
So, distraction is the opposite of attention, and attentiveness is the ability to pay attention is sometimes what we actually are needing when we feel like we need rest. It’s a feeling of ‘I need to turn off this distraction mode and have a time where I can actually have a complete thought and move forward with that complete thought.’ So, that’s one reason why taking a walk helps (yes, walking in a straight line physically helps the brain feel more linear – that’s perfect). So, in the book Deep Work, Cal Newport is talking about how we need to set aside undistracted time, and you know, pretty much his only solution is just turn the internet off, like how hard, just do it. And have one project that you just work on. And it’s like, well, yeah, that’d be nice if I had an office door I could close and just turn off the internet connection – that would turn off all the distractions, not. The internet might provide another layer of distractions but we’ve got so many things coming at us all the time that you could take a step and do the easy things like turning the notifications on your phone off (that’s a good one) but we can find times like this even in a house full of children who need us all day. One of the things that we need to do is to realize that we have to. So when we feel … we feel guilty if we feel like we just have to shut this all off. So we have all these distractions, then we feel overwhelmed and we don’t know what to do, and the only solution we can think of is to turn it all off, and we feel guilty for that because we know that’s not what we should be doing. We shouldn’t just be like, ‘go away.’ So when we get in this cycle, just keeping going and it just gets worse until we crack. And the fact that we crack should show that something’s out of whack here, something’s off kilter, and we do need to do something different.
We need to find some times in our day where we are not being interrupted. It’s healthy, it’s healthy for everyone. It’s healthy for our kids to not be constantly talking or interrupting or needing things. You see all kinds of articles lately today about how kids are never bored anymore and it’s actually bad for them. We live in a time where we have to be very intentional to guard our mental health, honestly. And we can do that by saying, no… just like everyone has to eat their vegetables, we have to have some time where we are not talking, asking questions, needing things – like, we have to build this intentional time into our day for everyone, not just for mom, not just so that I can handle you, but because this is good for all of us. Like, you can demand a quiet time in a selfish way and probably, we all have. And so then we feel guilty or bad because we did that with a wrong attitude and wrong motivation. We did it in a grabby, self-seeking way, and so then we overreact the other way, and say because the way I was needing a quiet time was wrong, therefore I must not need an afternoon without anyone talking to me, I’ve just got to go and get over it. You can actually figure out ways to have some quiet spaces intentionally, kindly, gracefully, non-selfish ways.
We live in a time where we have to be very intentional to guard our mental health, honestly. And we can do that by saying, no… just like everyone has to eat their vegetables, we have to have some time where we are not talking, asking questions, needing things – like, we have to build this intentional time into our day for everyone, not just for mom, not just so that I can handle you, but because this is good for all of us.