Monday Meditation: A New Year Rest

“Rest when you are weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.”

-Ralph Marston

December used to be an exciting month, a tiring one, but one filled with the energy of holiday electricity. The final week of the year used to be a time when I would organize myself and my professional and personal calendar. I would renew commitments to my goals and redraw the lines of my life blueprint, tracing old, still useable plans and developing additions where the old plan no longer fit. And in January, I was off and running!

Read more: Monday Meditation: A New Year Rest

Now, as a griever, December is just…draining. January is…daunting.

Getting to the post-holiday lull has become the goal of my “holiday season.” In my post-loss life, January has become even more important in my grief calendar. My week of restful planning morphed into a week of thinking, “I’d like NOT to do that again.” I still examine my blueprint for life, but I retrace less, rebuild some, and shrink the blueprint to make way for more open space that can become whatever it needs to be as the year rolls forward. I now devote the time to rethinking, reorganizing, regrouping, and restarting…at a tortoise’s pace.

Rest is always missing from my life by the end of the year, especially in 2022. In 2023, I want to reclaim my rest. I have committed myself in the past to “doing less,” but I only removed one or two activities from my calendar…I didn’t actually do less.

This year, I have decided that the way to “do less” is to focus on rest. I am burned out, worn out, mentally and physically drained, and I don’t just deserve rest; I need rest to survive…and to thrive.

Many people commit to a “dry January,” when they abstain from alcohol after a frenzy of holiday social activities. My grief-related version of a dry January is a restful one. I want to abstain from the things that over-taxed my mental load (mainly other people), give up the energy that drove me to exhaustion, and say “Eff it” to every new idea of how to “live my best life” so I can just get back to basics, like rest and sleep and eating better.

I can’t continue my grief self-work if I’m an exhausted, anxiety-ridden wreck. No one can.

I’ve set a bedtime, I’ve set reading goals, I’ve decided on better meal-planning options, I’ve decided not to grab on to other people’s expectations (in other words: I’ve decided to disappoint many people) and focus on the small number of lives that matter most in my world. I’m finally resting the way I probably should have been years ago.

What kind of rest do you need this new year?


Published by ancarroll

Alexandra N. Carroll is an author, grief advocate, crafter, mother, and partner. She writes on grief and self-care from her home in Vermont. Her forthcoming book concerns how to untangle life-after-loss through the creation of a strong self-care plan.

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