Day 3=learn how to rest #31Days2Happy

I don't know how to rest.

I need to talk to my therapist about this.

I've come down with a particularly violent chest cold. It didn't have to get this bad. But I didn't slow down when I felt it coming on. I kept going. I kept pushing. I didn't stop until I basically fell over half-dead, about one dose of cough syrup away from needing the ER.

And then I had to lie perfectly still for one whole day. Which felt like 82, 342 years, if I'm being specific. Lying perfectly still gives you time to think.

I realized two things: 1. I don't know how to rest because, 2. I push myself to the absolute limit on a routine basis.

The bad thing about this is that it feels normal. Add to the fact that my husband doesn't know how to rest either and you've got two extreme personalities pushing it the limit every single day and never knowing when to slow down.

Last night, I told him this was a problem.

"I don't even remember what a vacation feels like," he admitted to me. "Forget that, I don't even remember what a weekend feels like."

"Forget that!" I said. "I don't even remember what a lunch break feels like!"

We laughed. But the laughter sounded like gallows laughter.

Since having the twins, the days of non-stop work have smudged together. I know now why they call this decade "The Tired Thirties." His hair has gone white, my skin has flamed into psoriasis. He has gout, I have pout. Har, har.

If we took a vacation, I'd feel guilty. In fact, I feel guilty if I sit down for more than ten minutes. I have this mindset that I must be constantly productive, always moving, always working.

Getting sick--getting really sick--is the only time I stop.

As I was hacking up a lung at 2am, it dawned on me that I can't be truly happy unless I'm truly rested. I seriously need to prioritize resting. As in, schedule it. No more of this slapdash, I'll-rest-when-I'm-dead, catch-it-on-the-fly, rest when you drop lifestyle.

What really freaks me out is that I'm living with almost the same exact level of stress right now that I did during my years inside a fundamentalist cult. Awesome. I've escaped one exhausting environment and simply recreated it again.

This morning, I looked at my husband's head of white hair and thought: You know, living like this might actually kill one of us.

I don't like to rest. It feels like wasted time. No sooner do I clear my schedule of one thing then I just fill it up with something else. Unless I'm doing something, I feel useless. But when I look around, it seems like everyone else is living at the same frenetic pace and even doing more than I am.

I feel like I have to live at this breakneck speed all the time just to stay even with the pack. And so I keep charging full-steam ahead until THAT feels normal. Rest feels boring. Rest feels optional.

But humans can't live well--not mention, happily--if they aren't rested.

Oh, dude. I'm freaking out right now. What if happiness will always elude me because I don't know how to rest?

Good grief. I started this series trying to motivate myself into a happy state and now all this reflection on happiness is making me feel like I'm biologically incapable of attaining it.

This will be TOTALLY awesome if my experiment in happiness turns out to be a massive failure. I really have no idea how this whole thing is gonna end.

So, here's your homework (AND MINE) for today: schedule rest time.

Today's Happy Homework:

  • schedule a break
  • call a neighbor, friend, relative to come over and watch the kids so you can take a break--not a break to do other work, a break to REST.
  • schedule an overnight rest break
  • schedule a coffee date with a friend (if that's restful for you)
  • take a nap
  • clear the weekend schedule and plan a weekend "stay-cation" at home
  • take 5 minutes and force yourself to do NOTHING. just be. breathe.
  • take note of how this makes you feel (doing nothing makes me feel uncomfortable! but afterwards, I'm always grateful I slowed down)
  • or just write a damn post about how you don't know how to rest so you're doomed to despair! Hey! I'm such an inspiration! *sob*

**Coming up on Wednesday: a blog linkup and giveaway! Start writing NOW. Write a post about happiness and the ways you intentionally practice it. Or share a picture, video, quote or insight. On Wednesday, be ready to share your happiness with everyone.**

[This awesome "31 Days 2 Happy" button created for me by the awesome folks at The Resonate Group. Kerry Bural is the bomb-diggity, yo. Need web design? They can hook you up.]

{Massive Disclaimer: 31Days2Happy might turn out to be the biggest mistake/failure/lameness I've ever attempted. I don't know why I do this to myself. Am I a glutton for punishment? OMG. I need my shrink.}