Mom Writes First

66: Why Radical Rest is the Self Care Busy Moms Need, with Onnie Michalsky

December 21, 2022 Jen Larimore
Mom Writes First
66: Why Radical Rest is the Self Care Busy Moms Need, with Onnie Michalsky
Show Notes Transcript

Jen interviews Onnie Michalsky about radical rest - an intentional break from the hustle culture. 

  •  Radical rest goes against the norm of always being "on" and can help reduce feelings of inadequacy, resentment, and perfectionism
  • Learn why radical rest is the self-care solution you've been looking for. 
  • Jen and Onnie share how they engage in Radical Rest. Jen explains what she does to turn off her brain and just focus on being present in her body.
  • To make space for radical rest in your life, start by becoming aware of when you need it, communicating this need to those around you, and letting go of unrealistic expectations.

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Copyright 2023, by Spectacle Coaching, LLC, Empowering Spectacle-Making Everyday

 In today's episode, I'm bringing you a conversation. That's all a brown, the topic of radical rest and how we as moms can really learn to fully embrace the act of resting. We'll talk about why it's so hard to rest and how you can get more of it in your life. And why you should want to make space for the radical act of arresting. 


Are you ready? Let's  📍 go.


 Hi, I'm Jen Laramor. I'm a lawyer turned life coach and the host of mom first. The podcast that empowers working moms to ditch the overwhelm and lead with joy. If you're ready to go from frazzled and barely surviving to fulfilled joyful and thriving, then you're in the right place.   In today's episode, I'm bringing you a chat with Ani Michalski. Ani is a licensed therapist and a wellness coach who helps stressed out moms make themselves a priority. We became friends over our shared interests in helping moms ditch the overwhelm. 


One of the things that we've seen is how busy working moms can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of work. Home life, kid activities and end up depriving themselves of rest and self care. . If you're drawn to this topic and this podcast episode. Chances are it's time for you to make time and space in your life. For the radical act arresting. 


If you struggle with shutting off and resting. Then I want you to know that there's hope. I work with clients just like you all the time. And I teach them both in one-on-one and group coaching, how to break that hustle habit. Turn off the people pleasing. And make room for themselves. And for what they really, really, truly deeply want. 


The paradox. Of that work. Is that we end up actually being better moms. Even more of a rockstar employee. And we turn out more productive and happier. When we make the time. And the space for rest. If you want support in this area, know that you can head over to mom first To find out more about how you and I can work together. 


 And now with no further ado, my conversation with Annie. 




It's so good to see you. I'm so excited to chat with you today about rest and not just any kind of rest but radical rest. Absolutely. Tell me what that means 


to you. So when we first connected and we were kind of, you know, we're in the same space. Yeah. So that's why we decided that we're just gonna have this conversation totally organic and just go with it kind of conversation, which is different than either one of us normally.


Right. We do our podcast, so exactly. When we came up with the, well, we realized that we both really find sleep and rest as foundational to self-care and to becoming the best mom that, that you can be. And so radical rest meant means to me is one, it's kind of like re. Rebellious. 


Yes. It's . It's rebellious.


Yeah, like rebellious because for we are like as super moms or as moms, like just, we have so many expectations to go and to do so many different things, to be able to take care of everyone and everything else that it kind of is like this rebellious spirit of like, I'm gonna go against the grain and I'm gonna.


I'm not gonna get caught up in that hustle culture, and I'm gonna learn how to actually restore my body, my mind, and my spirit so that I can be the best version. So it goes against that usual hustle culture. 


Yeah. . It totally does. Um, it completely goes against it and completely goes against what I see happening in, in myself, but like also in my friends and in so many of the women I work with who, you know, would identify as working moms who are trying to always do.


5, 10, 20 things all at the same time. Right When they're at work, like they're rocking it and kicking butt and stuff. But they also are like thinking, okay, like did I buy that birthday present gift that I have to get and the mental what's for dinner tonight? And like the to-do list that they keep like running in their head or on their phone.


And then they're also. All the time, like on social media too. And so for me, like when I think of the term radical rest, I am like, turn it all off. Like turn it off, shut it down, shut the brain down, shut it all down, and just decompress for a hot minute. Because like in a world where you are called to be on all the time and in 10 places at once, and to feel like you have to have eight sets of arms just to get through the day, just taking a.


Is like honestly a radical 


act. Yes, I totally agree. Because you can get caught up in all of the, what you have to do and that and, and the mental load is so heavy as it is. Yeah. That radical rest really is about being intentional because. It's just, there's, there's so much noise and I think that's what you're referring to.


There's like, just like all of this noise and all of these things vying for our attention mm-hmm.  to be intentional about saying, okay, enough is enough. I'm ready to hear my own thoughts. I'm ready to create some quiet, like that is radical. That, that is like, everybody's like, that's not the 


norm. Right? It is.


And so I find that so many folks are on mute. They can't, they can't shut off. Like they can't physically, emotionally, mentally do it because they are so out of practice. They're so disconnected from what it would feel like to not have all of that running in the background, not have that all, kind of, have them doing that.


All, all the different things, all the. And so they find it really difficult not to mention like there's all these like perfectionism kind of like also like maybe some shame thrown in there too. So what do you, what do you find is really helpful to like break that habit, that hustle habit. 


 So first piece is being aware of it, right?


Yeah. For so long, like exactly. I struggled with not being able to rest, and that was part of my journey. I thought I had all kinds of expectations around what it meant to like, Rest and relax and just sit. And I couldn't do it right. I just couldn't. Um, I would also feel a lot of resentment towards people who could, including, like my husband,


Like, oh, . He would be, he would be like sitting and like enjoying a show or like, Actually like just chatting with one of my kids or one of our kids or whatever on the couch, and I would be like running the vacuum, doing the dishes like, do you not see that all of this stuff has to get done right? And it would build up.


So much resentment. Yeah. Within myself until I realized like the role that I had and what were those expectations that I was holding, was I defin? Like how was I defining a good mom? Mm. And why was I holding myself to such this like different standard right? Then, like I know plenty of good moms that are able to like rest and be present with their kids and like Right.


Be able to make that space for themselves during the day. To do some reflection or to do something that's like for self-care. But yet I couldn't do that because I had so many different expectations that were preventing me. Right. And and it also kept reinforcing that perfectionism, the people pleasing.


Yeah. All of the things that were keeping me from being able to rest. So it was like the cycle I was stuck in. It is, it is 


like a cycle. It's like a spiral. Yes. Yes. That you get stuck in. I, I agree. I think awareness is the first step. I think I, I think it's really helpful to have a partner who gets it in some way.


Mm-hmm. , um, who will support in some way you taking a break and then part of support that it has to be a discussion that part of the support has to include them stepping. Yes. You know, um, I know my husband and we have that discussion all the time, and it's like a, it's really a necessity for our marriage in a lot of ways, because otherwise that resentment builds and builds and builds.


And maybe it doesn't necessarily have to be like that where there's so much to do, but with the way our lives are mm-hmm.  like our family's lives are right now. If we wanna do the things that we wanna do, everybody has to step up to the. Right. It can't all fall on one person to try to make all of that happen.


It's not fair, and it just breeds resentment and everyone deserves to have some fun and some rest. 


Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And it is hard though, and I I'm glad that you brought up that communication piece. Yeah. Because it's so important. Because so often we carry that mental loader, like we carry the, what we think we have to be doing.


and it just adds to the overwhelm, having it all in our mind and it, it's crushing, right? Like we think like, and then, and then what's even worse than that is it contributes to us feeling inadequate. Yeah. Because so much of it is unrealistic and we think that we can do it, and do it and do it, and then when we can't do it, because it's not humanly possible to do it all.


We feel inadequate. And so again, it's feeding into that cycle or that spiral, and so taking that step back. Learning how to ask for help. Yeah, learning, ex sharing with others, like with, especially like your spouse and your kids and your family. Those closest to you. Sharing with them what what you want and what you need, and then going a step further and saying, how, how can they help?


Because your family loves you. I mean, we do . Yeah. They just dunno how, because you've done for so long, Carrie, that all of those responsibilities and duties and, and burden upon yourself. That they don't even know what it is that you need or want. You are the one that has to decide on that. Like the listeners, you, all of you out there need to decide what it is that you want and need and then communicate it.


Exactly. I think it goes like, you have to have that awareness. You have to have the skills to have a calm conversation that comes from a place, um, of, you know, mutual values and mutual respect. And then everyone has to step up to the plate. And then it really, like, you need to let go of some of those like feelings around inadequacy and striving for perfectionism.


And I, I don't know about you, but what I often see is like you, you need a reality check. Sometimes you have to like map out your whole day and look at it and say like, is what I'm expecting actually realistic is what I'm expecting of myself? Realistic, 


right, right. Yeah. Cuz most likely it's not  if you're not making the time for rest, if you are running from one activity to, or one commitment to another.


And you're like feeling exhausted at the end of the day, more chances than not. Like it's just not realistic and you need to reassess and where that's where that self aware piece comes. Like looking at your actual stay and seeing, is this even how I wanna be spending my time? And how, what adjustments can be made.


Exactly. Do you wanna know what rest looks like for me? 


Absolutely. Do you share ? I would 


love to. So for me, and this is something that I just learned this past year, so at the beginning of 2022, so we're at the end of 2022 now, so beginning of 2022, and I've been practicing it. Rest for me looks like literally sitting and doing nothing.


Like, it's like quieting my brain. Not even like meditation. It's like having like nothing going on in my brain and just like feeling. My body, if that makes sense. Yeah. Like feeling like what it feels like to have arms , like what it feels like to have toes that curl to move my nose. Like sometimes I do kind of like a full body scan.


Yeah. And I purposefully have like nothing or try to have nothing going through my brain. And obviously my brain like moves and, you know, does different things, stuff with different ideas. Right. But, um, that time and. Even if I can just do that for two minutes in the morning or a couple of minutes in between meetings or something that is so restful.


And that's the kind of rest a lot of time that I need because, so I have five kids as, as you may know. Um, so I don't always get a ton of sleep, but I'm not super sleep deprived. Mm-hmm. . But if I don't have just like a mental break. I find it so much harder to show up as the mom and the human and the person that I really wanna be.


And once I started kind of doing that, a lot of other things fell into place. Like I started to have more time for the things that brought me a lot of joy that weren't related to my family or kids. I thought I felt like I started to make more time for yoga. For exercise, for planning out what I was going to eat for, um, focusing, just like only focusing on my work because it was like if I built those muscles to be able to, um, Not work all the time or not think, not go.


Then when it was time to focus on one thing, I could actually focus on one thing. And so for me, like when I think of rest in the most rebellious way, it's to like literally sit and do nothing including like no phones. Right. No screens. 


Right. Jen, I agree with you with that. I actually right past my computer, is, um, a, a nice comfortable chair and it's one of my favorite places to sit when it's not Christmas time.


Like right now, it's, it's always Christmas. So we have a Christmas tree up and the lights, and my favorite place to rest is with the lights going on the couch in front of it. Ah, and again, just like you said, with no phone where you. I love that body scan piece, but really just like letting the thoughts just go through.


Like not taking any action on the thoughts, not like, like cataloging ideas or anything like that. Yeah, like really just tuning into myself and I. I do wanna mention that for if you're not used to resting, how torturous this may sound. Oh, right. It's, yeah. . Uh, yes. That's hard. It's hard to get into that practice.


Yeah. Of not doing anything because you're going to be thinking, I've gotta put that load of laundry in. I've gotta fill out that permission slip. Like all of the things that.  or normally in your mind you're go, it's gonna be torture to sit and just not do anything. Almost like you have to be in a straight jacket to do so.


Yeah, because it's torture when you're used to just running a mile, like a hundred miles a minute. Yeah. 


It's horrible. It's so hard. I mean, here we are. We're like, you have to try this. It's so great. And then we're like in the same breath. And it's horrible when you first started because it's, it's so hard.


But I think that that speaks to how we've been conditioned and what we're living.  right now. And I also think it speaks to the fact that we don't spend a lot of time alone with our own minds. No. No. And so we're always constantly like distracting or buffering like ourselves away from them a lot of times with our phones, right?


Yes. Um, or even just with like making small talk or checking our email or you know, running through that mental to-do list. What would it be like to just like sit and just truly actually just be for a minute? . Yeah. 


Because it's hard with all of the distractions. That's why I love the idea of the radical rest because it's very intentional.


Mm-hmm. . And it's very against the norms of the hustle culture, and learning how to just be comfortable with yourself without all of the distractions. Right, which you've mentioned the phone, which is a huge distraction. I mean, you go, this is a real  this, I went, I've been going on sole locations. It just reminded me of this phone the last few years.


And it has been such an exercise in just this like self-reliance, like just getting self-discovery really. Right, right. Um, and the most awkward piece of the whole thing is going out to eat by.  without looking at my phone because I like refuse to bring like a phone or a book and like, and I, and then it's like awkward, like not to like angle the person next to me like it was


Like, it's like this whole like crazy like exercise, but the confidence that comes from it. Like just being able to get to know myself. Like to ask yourself like, well what do I want to eat? Or like, what do I want to do? It has helped me be a better mom. Mm-hmm. , because I come back with that knowing myself more.


And unless you're spending, if you're spending all of your time taking care of everyone and everything else, and you're not taking that time to, to be with yourself, which is what happens when you are resting, you're not gonna know yourself and you're not gonna be able to be your best version. Right.


You're just, it's, it's just natural, like scientific facts. Like you're just not, you're just not. It's important to recognize if you are distracting, if all of the things around you are just distracting, if your schedule is distracting you, right? If you look down and there's like 50 things that you're doing, or even 10 things that you're doing a day and you're having no time to rest in between.


Then there's something that has to change because that's contributing to your feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm and feeling that mom brain feeling scattered and pulled in a million different directions. Right, like feeling stretched thin. Like it all comes back to you need to take responsibility and learn how to rest radically.


Yeah. Yeah, 


a hundred percent. I am always amazed though, like you said, by how much. How torturous it can feel, but also like how much resistance people put up to it, and. I feel like I can fairly name this because when people first suggested this to me, I was like, absolutely not. Do you not have any idea how much stuff I have to get done in a day?


Yes, . 


I do not have time to rest. I do not have 


time. I do not have time for that. And, um, what I love about it now is that now that I've, I've done that and I've incorporated into my life to the point. If I don't have it in a day, something is very, very off. Right. Um, I get so much more done mm-hmm.  and I am so much more like, I am so much happier and so much more content and the things that used to throw me so much, the little things mm-hmm.


they just, they just flow right off of my. 


Right. Right. 


So it gives you more time. Yeah. It gives you, it gives to you. Um, what about you, what are some of the things that you, you really appreciate and, and do for more rest and more self-care? . 


So I actually schedule margin in my day. Yeah. Like I do, like I try not to, I mean, I know when we were getting onto this , into this recording, I was like, okay, I'm gonna be five minutes late because I gotta run up and get water.


So some days like, or even, not even some days, I make sure I, that I am resting throughout the day, but I am also like, there's times in the day that like, okay, rest is not gonna happen within this next like three hour period. I know that I've started giving myself a lunchtime and just 30 minutes, and whether I eat lunch or not, like that's beside the point.


Some days I will, some days, like I'll squeeze it in a different time, but just making sure that I'm incorporating white space in my day to be able to step away. Take that ver like take a few breaths. Um, even in the morning, it's funny cuz I'll, I'll get up early and I'll come down and I started incorporating some silent time in my morning.


So I get up and then I rest, which sounds kind of ridiculous, but it works for me because I get up and I'm like, it puts me in like a, a space that I feel ready to tackle the day. And. I do this, I, I suggest this to my clients. A lot of times, like if they are so super busy, like do it, attach it to another habit.


 Do it when you come out of the bathroom, like you're gonna go to the bathroom several times during the day. Like instead of rushing back out, just stand there and just do some deep breathing and check in with yourself Using a body skin. That's usually what I do mention about just saying like, well, what am I feeling right now?


and naming that, feeling like just doing some regular check-ins throughout your day to be able to get yourself, like, kind of reinforce the fact that you are able to take a rest. It's, it's, it's okay. The world's still going on. The world's not falling apart. Like . It's absolutely possible. So you start like proving to yourself, right?


It's absolutely possible to take a rest, 


right? So you mean when I'm walking like up the stairs and around and through the hallways on my way from my office to the bathroom or whatever. I shouldn't just be like maximizing my time by reading my email.  ? 


 No. Like focus on the moment and hand because how many times you got there, you're like, what did I even do?


Like, you know, like it's kind of. , it's, it's defeating and you're, you're using a time that you can regularly like just be present in that moment instead of having your mind go in a hundred different directions. It kinda slows down time a bit. 


Yeah, I know. I would, I, I like the feeling of slowing down time because I feel like especially over the last couple years, time has sped up even more.


Do you feel like that's sometimes. I don't know how that can be when there was like this pandemic and things should have like really slowed down. But when I look back on it, it feels like everything has accelerated . 


What? I think it's age too. Oh no. Like the older we get, the faster time team supply . 


I mean, I, I do think there is some like truth to that, right?


Because like, Just like in terms of perception and relat relativity, right? 


Yeah. When you're younger, you've got a whole lifetime . 


Yeah. Oh. Um, I think it's interesting that you kind of brought up, like connecting it to a different habit or maybe like a different particular time of the day, like the morning time and stuff.


Mm-hmm. Um, I do think that like having a routine. Over those areas that you can actually control. Because I know for as moms, like it feels like when you, it feels like there's often like so little that you can control. You know, by the time you get to the end of the day, it's, it's hard to know like exactly what's gonna happen next.


Has someone been sick? Did something happen at work that you have to stay late for? Did something break at home? Like so many things like could happen that are outta your control. I, yeah. That are outta your control. So I feel like that, that time, if you can get it before the kids wake up, as well as, um, like between bedtime, like your bedtime in there, bedtime.


that is really some like potential for some magic time for you using 




bookends, using your bookends in your day, you know, maybe spending some more time on the weekends, doing some rest, like your bookends of the week as well. Yeah, usually, especially when you're starting, those seem to be, cuz the daytimes, if you're not used to like taking those times throughout the day, your day times are already probably packed.


Right, exactly. So start by just going in the morning or at. And find what works for you. We can, we can tell you all day what works for us. Right, exactly. You're gonna have to just be curious, experiment, and just trust in the process that radical rest will change you. 


Yeah. And be willing to give things a try and try different things.


And I think one of the things to keep in mind is we all are gonna need different types of rest. Right. Some of us are gonna need like a, a sensory break at some point. Mm-hmm. , some of us are gonna need maybe the opportunity for. More creative type of work that is actually rest for us, right? Because we're trying something different and we're getting a different kind of, you know, mental stimulation.


Um, but there's a lot of different kinds of rest as well. And even deciding to make space for something that is. Not gonna make you money or not gonna make you lose weight, or not gonna make you more perfect or whatever. You're not like that kind of purpose. Yeah, right. Something that doesn't have a purpose.


Yeah. Just to do it for the sake of doing it. That can be really restful. 


You just reminded me of something when you said about the creative rest. Yeah, like I, I'm taking piano lessons right now and Oh cool. That's, so I love that. I wanted to add some fun to my, yeah, I wanted to add some fun to my life and I was like, and I just always wanted to learn piano, so I started taking lessons and that hour that I.


Pull out the key. Like I said, we don't even have a piano. I do a keyboard, so I pull out the keyboard, but it's kind of like a little production cuz we don't have a play for it. So I gotta pull it outta my closet every night when I practice. But when I get into it, like it is rest for me. Like it is relaxing.


Yeah. And it is just peaceful to me. So what came up when you were just saying that was coloring? Like doing something about coloring that can be very restful and relaxing and rest. Restorative. Mm-hmm.  and sure, you might not be doing nothing, but when you're coloring, your mind tends to kind of just.


Release those thoughts, like it'll, the thoughts will come through and release. You're not sitting there actually pondering and like trying to solve any problems or like solve the world problem. , you're not doing anything but just what you're doing. So being in the flow and doing something that you enjoy, and it could come out as a creative act or a creative arts, but getting into that flow can help you get into that restful state.


Yeah, and I. . I just love that you mentioned coloring because that just reminds me too that we don't always have to rest alone. Mm-hmm. , you know, sometimes we can rest and like we could color like with our kids. Yeah. It, it might not be rest if we're not careful. Right. With how we set it up. Right. Like if you may need to like explain, like I know I would be explaining to my kids, okay.


Like this is my rest time. If you want to join me for it, you can, but understand that it.  within the bounds of this kind of framework. I'm not gonna go look for a crayon , I don't wanna hear about all the concepts. Not sharp enough. Like I'm not mommying right now. I'm coloring . Right? 


That means you some boundaries.


Yeah. Yeah. Some boundaries. So 


I like, so, 


oh, I love it. I love it. I love it. Um, uh, yeah, I think that's, so, I think that's really, really smart. And then, you know, really at the end of the day, I wanna rest, not just for me be, but like for my kids and for my family, so that I show up in the best way that I can.


And also so that I set that example like I am so over. The idea that we have to push ourselves, you know, 120% or whatnot, and that we have to deprive ourselves of sleep, or of nourishment or of rest or fun or joy, or that we have to push through when things are really, really hard or we're not feeling good.


Like I want my kids to see that I make my own health and wellness a priority, and that means getting rest so that they will. 


Absolutely. I love it because it is, it's, you know, we call it self-care, but it's really caring for all of those that you love. 


Yeah, exactly. And it's when you take it to like that extreme, like it's really rebellious.


Mm-hmm.  and radical. 


I agree. I love it. Radical. Yep. . So this has been an awesome conversation almost. It 


has . It's been so good. I've loved it. Before you go, can I ask you, what do you think we can do to empower other women, other moms to. Make radical arrest a priority in their life. 


I feel like them listening to this conversation, I hope that, yeah, I hope that is our, you know, that's our ultimate goal is that they start making those changes.


Start small. Yeah. Like, just start small. Just look at your day and say, where can I take, you know, five minutes to myself? Where can I take five minutes back and make it your own so that you can. You can ex, you can discover the benefits of rest because yeah, what you're doing right now may not be working, so why not try 


something different?


Right. I've had so much fun with this conversation, so I know for me, I'm Jen Lamore and folks can hear more from me on the Mom First podcast. And you also have a podcast? 


I do. So I am Annie Alki and uh, my podcast is Moms Without Capes. And I can also be found on any of the platforms under moms with that capes.


But I'm mostly on Facebook, so come join my Facebook group. We're a great community moms with that. 


I love it. Thank you so much. This was so, this was really fun. It was really fun. 


Absolutely. I loved  📍 it. . 


 Okay, my friend, thank you for checking out this episode. Hey, if you liked this content and you're ready to take this work to the next level. Then I want to personally invite you to get coached by me. 


I offer one-on-one coaching and group coaching to.  Imagine what it would be like if you could finally enjoy this season of life that you're in. And set an incredible example of fulfillment and joy for your kids. That is possible for you and I'm here to help you. All you have to do is head over to my website., first To find out more.