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Plan for your rest and know what matters

From guest Blogger Liz Pennington

We approach the end of another year, one that has brought with it significant demands on families and whānau, and seen communities continue to navigate notable  uncertainty.

As we head into December we are thoughtful about the year ending and a New Year beginning. It brings with it some natural review and reflection. If we are working in a paid or unpaid capacity, we can assume that we've got a rest covered because we have some annual leave that we are taking. Alternatively, it might be we are working across the holiday period. We think we’ll grab what time we can, but we aren't sure when that will be.

We might even be saying to ourselves, "This is how we roll", thinking that leave or rest from our work in its broadest sense will happen "as and when it can". This kind of thinking may leave us tired, not rested and increasingly frazzled. We do know that re-setting and relaxing takes effort that being stressed doesn't. 

Psychologist Adam Grant writes that "languishing" is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if we are muddling through days and looking at our lives through a foggy windshield. This matters for us as we continue the ongoing work that we do as family, whānau, and community members. 

When I wonder what languishing looks like in a practical sense, I think about that sense of each day feeling the same, dulled motivation, and a diminished ability to focus.

So what are some actions that support recharging for the year ahead?

It can start with planning for the wind-down at year end. Don't overschedule meetings in December. In both paid and voluntary work roles, book in final year-end review meetings as a collective. Clarify expectations regarding calls, emails, and work over the break, and be clear about return to work dates and early year planning meetings.

We can take action in a number of ways. We can plan to  reconnect with people and things that bring us joy, like gatherings with family, whānau, and friends, music and reading.

We can commit some time to our breath work (download the app ‘Take a breath’ by the talented kiwi Sarah Laurie), and invest in our rest and sleep.

We can review how we are managing our fatigue, and consider the ways we fuel ourselves through nutrition and hydration. Each element matters and can play an active role in our resetting for 2024.

Plan for your rest.  Know that it matters.  Be thoughtful about sustaining yourself in the work that you do in your family, professional, and community roles.

Liz Pennington is the Chair of Breast Cancer Support Aotearoa and 
Co-owner and Managing Director of Pennington Consulting