I have mentioned lately on social media the difference between being in a grace season and in a grit season. I would define a grace season as one that resembles maintenance: focusing less on 100% compliance, lowering expectations in your fitness journey to allow rest, and not being as strict or hard on yourself. Conversely, a grit season is when you are striving for compliance and consistency, pushing yourself a bit more in the gym, and likely focusing more on quality and quantity of food.
I spent the last 6 years living in Boston and the last 4 working for myself. I am very much an on-the-go person, I enjoy DOING, and no one is harder on myself than I am. I find lots of joy in accomplishing and I strive to do everything I do well (which certainly can be a double-edged sword).
When we moved to Kansas City about 7 months ago, my day-to-day pace completely shifted. I traded my early mornings for adequate rest. I went from getting home from work at 8pm and eating whatever I could quickly throw together for dinner to being done with work around 5-6pm and getting to create a quality dinner every night. I began to see how much stress and anxiety I had been carrying from commuting around Boston every day and have truly enjoyed getting to spend every day working from home with my husband, more time than we have ever been able to spend together and it has been so nurturing for our marriage. And with all of this rest, and getting to work from a place of rest, I am actually the strongest in the gym that I have ever been, without feeling run down, sore, or tired all the time.
Now, I understand that not everyone can just drop everything and move across the country too to create a new life. So, what I’m going to share in this blog post is how to:
- make room for rest
- create boundaries around your life to create room for your grace season if your life currently looks like my Boston life
- give yourself grace when life’s demands pile up and you feel guilty for taking time for yourself
First off, rest is not just going to happen. Often, you have to plan for it.
When I was in Boston, I had created a little weekly habit tracker in an Excel sheet. My weeks were so busy that I knew if I didn’t have a brief weekly review with myself every Friday, it would be really easy to let the week get ahead of me.
I tracked things like how many workouts I completed, how compliant I was to my budget, and how intentional I was with my nutrition. I also tracked how many “wind downs” that I did during the week, which were evenings that I intentionally carved out time for no-technology space. Because evenings were basically the only time that I could set aside time for myself during the week, I prioritized time spent deep breathing in front of my red light, reading in bed or journaling, or time spent doing mobility work.
Social media can be deceiving and if you don’t have a lot of time to recharge, then I encourage you to not worry about what other people are doing and instead get creative and find what works for you.
It could be trying to enjoy your commute in silence and practice deep breathing, setting a time frame to put your phone down at night, or scheduling a self-care night each week away from your phone. It might even be an intentional morning routine or something that you prioritize on your lunch break!
Once you have created room for rest and recharging, you will likely find that you will need to set boundaries in order to ensure it actually happens.
Creating boundaries can involve scheduling it and then sticking to it (don’t cancel on yourself!), putting your phone on do not disturb during your time allotted for rest, or even simply learning to say no.
A few years ago I first heard the concept of working from a place of rest, rather than working in order to earn rest. Despite being in a very busy season of life, l began to see the importance of this time and truly how much I showed up better for my clients when I made sure that I was recharged first. Once this realization sank in, it became so much easier to set and stick to boundaries around my time.
After a few weeks of prioritizing “wind down time” a few nights a week when I first created the tracker, I realized that the biggest barrier in my way was ME. My boundaries were communicated and the time was set aside, but it came down to me learning to stick to things myself and choosing to recharge instead of drowning myself in my phone and/or a show until the minute I decided to get ready for bed.
If you often find yourself sabotaging yourself, this is an incredible opportunity to practice showing grace to yourself and learning to trust yourself. Make an effort to practice communicating your boundaries, block your time, learn to say no, and remember that time to recharge is vital for your well-being.
Lastly, give yourself grace and learn to not feel bad for taking time for yourself as you practice setting boundaries with yourself and shifting how you view your own priorities.
When you make it a practice of doing these things, you will likely find yourself approaching recovery and even your fitness and nutrition with a positive and holistic mindset as opposed to viewing it as one more thing on your to-do list, etc. You can slowly shift your perspective from workouts as a punishment or obligation or something you have to do in order to earn your fun dinner nights with friends to something you consider to be part of your self-care routine, something that you do for your health and wellbeing and that you feel good doing.
In the midst of life’s hustle and ambition, finding grace for the journey is not some far away concept that isn’t applicable to or possible for you —it’s a necessity and it’s something that you absolutely can cultivate for yourself. Creating room for grace in your life allows you to step off the hamster wheel and it invites the ability to work from a place of rest.
Remember that prioritizing self-care is not a sign of weakness but a testament to your strength and ultimately a sign of dedication to your goals and priorities. You deserve to be able to go through your day and week while enjoying moments of rest and reflection, so I encourage you to create space for that. Embrace your journey with grace. I’m rooting for you!