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Rest Is an Activity, and You Don’t Have to Earn It

Written By: Lauren Howard

I don’t know. 

I don’t know. 

I don’t know. 

I just kept saying it over and over, every time my husband asked me why I was crying. 

Tears were pouring out while I stood in my living room, surrounded by things I was supposed to get done while he took the kids out. 

They were gone for six hours and I had done nothing. When they left, I sat down on the couch to take a load off for the first time in weeks. Months even. 

And then I couldn’t get up. My brain kept telling my body that it was time to move, and my body just didn’t respond. The only thing I could do was lay there begging something to comply. 

Nothing did. 

When my husband walked in, he asked if I had had enough time to get what I needed done, and I just burst into tears. Understandably, he wanted to know what was wrong, and I couldn’t tell him. 

Mostly because I didn’t know. 

I didn’t realize I had worked myself so hard that my body had stopped giving me messages and went offline instead. I didn’t that this was the price for not taking a break in years. I didn’t realize that the rules about rest that applied to everyone and that I enforced with my staff actually did apply to me too. 

Burnout was scarier than almost anything that I have experienced in my life, and though it’s been years, I’m still recovering in a lot of ways.

If you ignore the check engine light on your car, the car will eventually break down. Bodies aren’t that much different, but the signals aren’t as clear—especially if you’re willfully ignoring them. It would nice if an indicator just flashed on our foreheads when we're in need of something, but it just doesn't work that way. 

I put a sticker over my check engine light so that I could pretend I was different and somehow superhuman. 

I wasn’t. You aren’t either. 

Rest is an activity, and you don’t have to earn it. Burnout is a breakdown and without the necessary repairs and maintenance, it just continues to happen until the engine won't run anymore. 

Okay. I’m out of car metaphors for the day. Was that convincing, car people? That's the extent of my knowledge. 

Take care of yourselves, internet. 


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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