Have you ever been in a situation where your mind is busy planning your to-do list, but your body just rejects it? Have you ever felt that all you really want is to rest and do absolutely nothing at all but you force yourself to keep working hard, ignoring your body and soul’s deepest need?
For many months, I didn’t feel like doing things or meeting people or keeping commitments or just living my usual life. Long before Coronavirus forced everyone else to slow down, I realized the truth about myself: I was exhausted by everything. I needed a break from life. So I decided not to write, not to study, not to read, not to meet my loved ones. In short, not to be me.
In the beginning, it was challenging to accommodate my body’s request for rest. I sank into a cycle of guilt and blame, feeling I was no longer good enough. I continued this cycle, neither accepting nor rejecting my desire for rest. As a result, I wasn’t even able to get the rest I needed. I forced myself to continue with business as usual, my mind continuing to think, my soul continuing to read and my body continuing to work harder and harder by the day.
As time went by, any energy I had left continued to deplete day by day. Eventually, I realized I was carrying a lot of anger and frustration – and that wasn’t helping anything either.
Out of curiosity, I finally decided to give myself a break and to respect and accept my body’s call without subjecting myself to any more mental punishment. So, I gave myself permission to sit on my sofa, covered in a fluffy blanket, watching Netflix with a bowl of popcorn. I gave myself permission to minimize phone calls, to stop constantly checking LinkedIn, creating new Instagram posts and to spend a minimal amount of time studying for my courses.
And that is when something inside me shifted: I started to view life from a different perspective, one of hopefulness, optimism and confidence.
The reason I’m sharing my genuine experience with you is because I have learned to believe in the importance of listening to your inner needs, respecting them and realizing them. Even now, when the stress level is higher and the world is more uncertain than ever, we can – and should – listen when our bodies tell us “I need a break.”.
It’s likely that no matter what is happening in the world, you will perform much better in every part of your life when you grant your body its requests for some peace, quiet, and comfort.
Sarah Al Bakeri
This Emirati mother of three began her professional career in information technology, moving on to public administration. But as Sarah has herself realized, in order to live a truly authentic life, following your passions is key. And so she trained to become a co-active coach through the The Coaches Training Institute.