Tanya Valentin - Why rest is an important part of growth

As the year draws to a close, many of us have the opportunity to take a brief pause.

In the past, I have resisted taking a break. I have worried that if I stopped to rest, I would lose the momentum I have worked so hard to achieve and all my efforts would be for nothing. There always seems to be more to do and my list can sometimes feel endless! However, my inner Wise Woman self reminded me this year, that rest is part of growth.

Rest is part of healing our wounded selves.

Healing is actually learning how to “be”, rather than how to “do”. How to be within our bodies. How to leave the ego (thinking) mind to actually experience the present moment. As we learn to do this, we learn to feel and integrate new ways of being into our body. This requires lots of rest and self care.

The Holistic Psychologist

How Our Shadow Archetypes Influence Our Attitudes Towards Growth and Rest

In my previous blog How to Overcome Toxic Self-Criticism, I shared with you how we can get caught up in the Wounded Warrior or the Selfless Mother Archetypes.

The Wounded Warrior feels compelled to continuously be on the hunt. Consumed with ticking things off of her never-ending “to-do list” she strives to reach the next goal, the next milestone.

Although this can be true for a work goal, I have also found this to be true when related to our journey of personal growth. We can so easily fall into the habit of constant self-improvement, never stopping to celebrate our accomplishments or acknowledge ourselves for how far we have come. This activates feelings of not being “enough” in us, or that we need validation from an outside source to “complete us”. We do this instead of seeing all the ways that we are already whole and worthy.

The Selfless Mother is filled with her need to compete with other mothers to prove her worth. She is consumed with the need to control and take on everyone else’s problems as if they were her own. The Selfless Mother loses herself in the constant serving of others. She is so busy “doing” that she forgets who she is as a human “being”, worthy of her own love and care.

For women who identify strongly with these shadow archetypes, rest can be very challenging. “Doing” is where they receive the validation of their worth.

Tanya Valentin - Why rest is an important part of growth
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Seasons and Cycles of Growth and Rest

Linear goal setting is a model of growth and development that has been taught to us through the masculine dominant lens of our culture. The Wounded Warrior Archetype is often a learnt manifestation of this masculine way of doing things. This way of thinking is helpful for setting short term goals. However, as women and in the healthy embodiment of our Mother Archetype, it is our nature to be in touch with our natural cycles. A woman’s way is to observe the spring, summer, autumn and winter of all things.

The feminine way to observe growth is to recognise that at any given moment we are:

  • Cultivating new tender shoots such as ideas, or sparks of inspiration (spring).
  • Parts of ourselves and our lives that are flourishing and bountiful (summer).
  • Aspects of ourselves and our lives are coming to an end (autumn).
  • Parts of ourselves are undergoing a death or need to be dormant (winter).

Rest = Growth

The best way that I can explain Rest = Growth is through the example of growth to our physical body when we are trying to reach a fitness goal.

According to sports science experts, rest is just as important to our physical bodies as training. There is a direct correlation between how much you rest between training days and how well you perform in the sports field.

During each training session your body gets ‘damaged’. Rest, and especially sleep, allows your body time to repair this damage. This means that if you don’t take enough rest after training, your body cannot fully recuperate, leading to an ongoing weakening and deterioration of your body tissues. But there is another reason why rest is crucial for athletes. When your body has fully repaired itself from training it doesn’t stop there. In order to prepare for stresses in the future, it will become a little stronger than before. This process is called overcompensation.

Tanya Valentin - Why rest is an important part of growth
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The Growth of Our Brains, Emotions and Souls Need Rest Too

Similarly, our brains, our emotions and our souls have been “training” hard over the past year. It is crucial to our ongoing growth and development to give ourselves some much-needed time to rest and recover. We need time for our learning to settle, integrate and for new connections which have been formed to be strengthened. When we are making significant shifts to our thoughts and beliefs our brains are literally rewiring and rebuilding themselves. Our brains are working so super hard that it would stand to reason that we may need rest to give our brains the opportunity to recover.

By allowing ourselves this time of rest, we make space for more ideas and creativity to flow. We build our resilience and we can return to our goals with renewed strength and stamina in the new year.

As mums, we would have witnessed a similar thing happening to our children at various stages of their development. This is especially true for children in the early childhood and adolescent years, where their rapid growth is met with the need for more sleep.

Perimenopause, often referred to as our second puberty, is a time when our bodies, brains and souls go through significant reconstruction. As midlife women, we naturally need more rest in order to recalibrate and preserve our holistic wellbeing.

Along with all the growth and healing, remember to give yourself time for integration, which is a fancy word for “allowing shit to settle”. It looks like doing nothing. This nothing is necessary.

Emily McDowell

Allowing Yourself Time to Rest

Okay, so I have convinced you of the importance of rest, but how do you do it?

How do you switch off and allow yourself to take some well-deserved R&R?

The answer lies in the embodiment of your inner Queen.

Here is my three-step plan for being more Queenly this festive season:

Step one – Recognising your worth – Queens know that they are worthy of rest and relaxation.

  • Gently tell yourself that by investing in some downtime for yourself, you will be a better mum, boss, employee etc.
  • Remind yourself that your worth is not tied to how productive you are.
  • Remember, you are allowed to enjoy your life and have fun and you don’t need anyone else’s permission. You can give permission to yourself!

Step two – Make a plan.

  • This may sound a bit contradictory to resting but make a plan.
  • Do a brain dump and create a list of priorities that absolutely need to be completed before you can rest. Set yourself a deadline of when these will be completed by. (Use my handy tool to help you with this process)
  • Look at your task list and deadlines and ask yourself, “Are the expectations that I set for myself realistic?” and “What is the worst thing that would happen if I didn’t do everything on this list?”
  • Adjust your list accordingly and your expectations accordingly.
  • Remember that a Queen has a team – you can ask for help and delegate.
  • Create a “switching off” ritual that signals to your brain and your nervous system that you finished with your work for the year and you are now entering “rest mode”.
  • Think about all the things that bring you joy and create a plan for how you will do some of these things in your rest period. (According to relaxation expert Professor Mark Cropley, if we do not plan for our relaxation we spend our leisure time filling it with jobs.)

You often feel tired. Not because you are doing too much, but because you do too little of what lights a fire inside your

Tanya Valentin - Why rest is an important part of growth

Step three – Create boundaries and keep your commitments to yourself

  • Create boundaries around your rest and relaxation. The easiest way to do this is by visually removing things that remind you of work while you are on your break.
  • Pack away your computer and any books, files, or devices that remind you of work.
  • Set your emails to auto-respond and log out of your email accounts.
  • If you use your social media for business, create a post letting your community know that you are taking a break and wishing them a lovely break too. Log out of your accounts or turn off the notifications from your social media on your phone.
  • Practice saying “No” to family and friends to things that do not align with how you want to spend your break.
  • Remember, it is going to feel a bit difficult at first to do this, but it will get easier the more that you practice this.
  • Keep reminding yourself that you are allowed to take time off to meet your own needs.
  • Celebrate the beautiful calm, relaxed and energised Queen you are. Ready to take on the world with renewed passion and energy once your break is over.

If in doubt repeat the following Affirmation: It is safe for me to rest and relax, it is my turn to give myself all the love and care I give to others.

As a Midlife Mentor for Women I support Soul-Led, Midlife Women who are on an awakening journey, to reconnect with, love and trust the woman behind the roles, the responsibilities and the weight of the expectations of others.

I help you unlearn the beliefs, behaviours and stories that no longer serve you so you can live the next half of your life in a way feels true to who you authentically are as the Queen of your own life!

Would you like to find out more about how you can heal your Shadow Archetypes? Buy My Book When She Wakes She Will Move Mountains – 5 Steps to Reconnecting With Your Wild Authentic Inner Queen.

When She Wakes She Will Move Mountains by Tanya Valentin


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