It’s 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning and I am up. I awake because it’s daylight savings and the clocks fell back an hour at 2:00 a.m. this morning, so my body is convinced it’s time to wake and get the day started. Yesterday I spent the day on the couch because my head felt like it weighed 1,000lbs and my nose would not spot running. At first, I tried to tell myself I was just feeling run down and tired, and it would all pass after a nap. Unfortunately, it took an entire day of napping, green juice, lots of vitamins, tea with lemon, multiple cloves of garlic, essential oils, two boxes of tissues, and some Tylenol cold and sinus to get me to the point of sitting upright this morning to write.
I am up, rested, feeling much better, I’d say about 75%, and don’t want to write about what I planned to write about this month. I feel like I need to explore the thoughts I had while on my couch. I write a lot about mental health and the mind, body, and soul connection, and while laying on my couch unable to move I did a lot of thinking. I was trapped in a cage with my thoughts, an electrified cage where my thoughts zapped me like bolts of electricity from one topic to another. I felt everything and nothing all at once. This is what being overwhelmed feels like to me and a space I intentionally avoid because I know all too well how electrified thoughts can cause suffering. Therefore, I avoid processing through the hard stuff, and I choose to be in my body moving instead.
Yesterday, I moved from the couch to the kitchen and the couch to the bathroom. I was now up at 5:30 a.m. ready to greet a new morning with new possibilities. I woke up angry because I could not comfortably stretch on my yoga mat and sit in mediation. I missed my 8:00 a.m. Bar Method class and I missed the 9:00 a.m. run I scheduled with a friend. Yes, before 10:00a.m. I typically move my body for a few hours to set myself up for a productive day. Because I experience anxiety at different levels every day, I start my day with movement and meditation. This is how I stay mentally and emotionally intact and connected. Staying connected to my mind, body, and soul through movement and meditation is my medicine.
For most people, a day on the couch is a great day. I wholeheartedly agree we all need rest. Rest can take several different forms depending on your personality and interests. Because I like moving a lot any form of stillness just feels uncomfortable. My rest looks like a walk with my dog, playing in my garden, or seeing friends and family. I call this rest because it takes me out of my head and puts me places I enjoy: nature, my garden, and anywhere with friends and family. Rest does not have to be laying on the couch taking a nap or watching a movie or game. Rest is anytime you can remove yourself from your mind and allow your body to relax enough to get you to your soul.
We need physical rest in the form of sleep and most of us, at least those of us serious about adulting do not get the suggested 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is important for our overall well-being, and so is rest. I want to distinguish the difference between allowing yourself time to rest or mentally ease up and actual bedtime sleep. We have all done a number on ourselves by bringing our phones, televisions, and other electronic devices into our bedrooms. These things do not allow for restful sleep. They continue to stimulate our brains even though we have decided we are going to turn in for the night. We are still getting fired up over headlines, gossip, engaged in text messaging, or even worse on social media. How many of you have dreamt about something you read or saw on your phones as you lay in bed “unwinding?” When it’s time to sleep, sleep! Put down the phone! I feel like you all needed someone to say this to you. I am going to go as far as to say, keep your phones out of your bedrooms. Unless your child is away from you for the night, you are an emergency worker on call or have a family member in the hospital, or unwell you do not need to be reached in the middle of the night. I am not trying to downplay your importance in the world in fact, just the opposite. You are extremely important and need to show up rested. We all need you ready for the day, ready to make important decisions and tapping into your creativity.
After reading the above words, I hope most of you understand why my time on the couch yesterday was not restful. I thought about my life in general terms, the big brush strokes. Where I see myself, my children, and my business going over the next several years. As the hours passed and I moved between awake and sleep my thoughts became more focused, finer strokes that opened me up to looking at the people in my life, the decisions I make, and how I show up through all of it. As I gained clarity, I felt my anger release and realized I probably needed the discomfort of my couch yesterday. Here’s what I learned.
I allow people to take advantage of my kindness because I think it is a part of being kind. I lie to myself because I think I don’t have time to explore the truth when deep down I really don’t want the truth. I accept people in my life who are not showing up for me by making excuses for them. This is a lot of electrified thinking for a sick day on the couch, so now you know why I find it uncomfortable. The thoughts are nonstop. I did determine that I want things to look different and that I want more for myself. Here’s how things are going to look moving forward.
I love that I am kind and compassionate and willing to put others before me. I also love myself (if you didn’t read my blog last month on self-love, please give it a read) and with this clarity, I refuse to let anyone take advantage of the abundant amount of love and kindness in my heart. I am not going to change who I am; I am going to change how and when I choose to put love and kindness into the world. Next, I absolutely dislike being lied to. I feel like it is a full-blown attack on my intelligence. And yes, for years I have been insulting my own intellectual and spiritual intelligence by lying to myself. Moving forward I will hear, see and feel the truth even if it hurts so bad it causes me to suffer. The suffering is temporary, the learning that emerges is essential for my happiness and the increase in self-respect and self-love is immeasurable. I will make the time for truth and only accept the truth from myself and others.
And finally, those who want to be in my life need to meet me with an open heart ready to show up. I am blessed with family members with massive hearts. It is a family trait. Any one of us would give you the shirt off our backs and freeze before we let you freeze. I’ve seen my sister and brother do it numerous times. Why? Because it’s what our mom and dad modeled for us. I guess you could say it’s what we know and in us instinctually to show up for others. And each of us has allowed people in our lives that don’t show up for us. I always hope that if I continue to show up, others will see me doing it and automatically return the same amount of commitment to showing up even if it’s hard and uncomfortable. It does not typically work this way. People who do not confront their trauma (their stuff) are not able to fully show up for themselves, therefore they are unable to show up for others. I am grateful for my level of awareness. It allows me to lay on the couch and process, it’s not restful but it is insightful and sometimes we all need the harsh reality delivered by a day on the couch.
I’m now going to get some rest and take my dog for a walk. I hope you’ll find some time to rest today and every day and not allow adulting to get in the way of restful sleep. Sending you lots of love!
Kristin Asadourian is a personal development and leadership coach. Her coaching practice is strongly influenced by her work as a social worker and a community organizer, which taught her the importance of community, compassion and confidence.
She is the founder of Living Become, LLC an organization focused on delivering workshops, educational materials and keynotes to empower all people, KA Coach, a confidence and leadership building business, the Los Angeles based arts education not for profit, Artists for Change, and the documentary film company, Seeroon Productions which produced the internationally recognized film, “Beginning Where the Soviet Ends: A Study of Social Work in Armenia.
Kristin works to inspire people to live their true potential. She can be found living her truth guiding young people and adults through leadership workshops, coaching individuals and small groups, speaking on building self-awareness and self-confidence, out for long bike rides, on the trials for a run and making messes with her two children and their goldendoodle.