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Rest, Relaxation & Fun

How often do you get the opportunity to relax, rest or have some fun?


Behind the façade of a busy, successful, adult- in-control-person, are you hiding a thousand ideas about how you’re failing and trying to hide it.


Feeling like you’re either killing at work or at home or socially but never everything all at the same time?


And fun? What the fuck is that? Who has time for that when there’s a constant round of cleaning, organising, sleeping, cooking and trying to be better at everything to do.


It’s like being a juggler, but someone keeps knocking one of the balls out the way and expecting you to pick it up, throw it back in and keep the others going in the air at the same time. Like, what do you want from me?


Do you find you’re berating yourself for not being able to do it all, be amazing all the time, knowing that (technically) you’re capable of doing all these things, so why can’t you just bloody do it. Then calling yourself a lazy sod for needing to rest when you’re exhausted.


If you sat back and looked at what’s going on as an objective outsider, would you still feel the same way?


If you looked at what you’re dealing with all the time – sensory overload, trying to fit in or look like you’re doing the right things, making sure everything gets done, whether it actually needs to or not.


Trying to work out how to do the things that look so easy to other people but take a LOT of energy for you. Then, when you drop one thing, it can feel like everything else comes toppling down too.


But would you call your friends lazy arseholes because they hadn’t hoovered the lounge for a few days? Or a week. Or a couple of months?


Would you berate your colleagues constantly for not noticing a spelling error that made no real difference to the content or context of an email?


Would you not give them any love or care when things are tough?


So why do you do it to yourself?


Our brains can be so fucking noisy and negative, constantly trying to whip us into a shape that, let’s face it, isn’t us. Trying to fit us into a matchbox when we’re the size of a horse. It’s exhausting.


And as for relaxation, rest or fun, when do you get time for that with a to-do list the size of 3 countries?


The fact is that you need all of these things – rest, relaxation and fun to make you function better and enjoy your life. We all need more sleep and you don’t need another reminder or thing to beat yourself up about so I’ll leave that for another time.


So what am I talking about with rest and relaxation if I don’t mean sleep? Well, rest is focused on physical regeneration (including sleep), while relaxation is about your mind and soul.


Rest is making sure your body is able to keep going, taking care of it, and honouring what it needs to keep you doing the things you need and want to do.


Relaxation can be about being physically still, in the name of encouraging your mind to rest. We’re all affected by the pace of today’s world and how easy it is to get distracted by something we don’t mean to. Neurodivergent brains are affected by this so much more.


It feels like there are demands coming from everywhere – WhatsApp messages, emails, social media, the Internet in general. We can easily find something to “do” even when we’re relaxing.


Honestly, I can spend hours scrolling through TikTok sometimes and there’s part of me that feels good because I’m lying down, resting my body. There’s a point when it’s doing my brain no favours with that amount of input and attention-grabbing.


It’s easy to get distracted or entangled in something that doesn’t need our attention or can’t be solved by us. Our brains might get attached to these things rather than learning how to let go of that which doesn’t serve us.


We do need to learn that so we can find the space to do other things like sleep properly, prioritise tasks, get shit done and generally be a functioning human being.


And as for fun, that’s what makes life the best. I haven’t met a neurodivergent person who doesn’t have the capacity for so much joy and fun that it bursts out every now and then.


There’s sometimes a perception that the joy of neurodivergent people can seem childish or physically over-expressed. I completely disagree with this. I think we’re trained out of the joy that children feel.


What’s the problem with flapping arms or skipping excitedly?


I’m sure you’ve at some point felt the profound feeling that fun and joy brings to your being. Have you noticed what it does within you? Have you ever taken the time to wonder what might be possible if we came to things from a place of fun rather than just being logical and sensible?


How much more interesting would work be? Cleaning? Planning?


Imagine if you threw on your favourite music and danced around the kitchen while you cleaned it!


Imagine if you saw the funny side of someone’s tech problems and gave them a laugh while you were fixing their issues.


Imagine if your planning involved bringing fun into your workplace.


Bringing more fun into your life increases positivity, optimism and performance (both at work and out of it). I find things waaaaay easier to do when I’m having fun. Even if it’s finances (ugh).


It also gives me a sense that there are more options available to me. It’s the difference between feeling like everything is hard and horrible, your body folding in on itself to keep you safe so you end up squashed into the smallest, hunched ball you can get to. Nothing feels good there. Things don’t feel possible.


Compare this to a situation where your arms are thrown wide, skipping or dancing with a big grin, head thrown back and open to whatever comes your way.


I know which one I’d rather feel.


And I know that when you’re feeling hunched and squashed, the openness feels out of reach or unattainable.


This is when you need to think about rest and relaxation. Yes, even when you’ve got a shit ton of work to do. And yes, even when it feels like you’ve got no time to devote to that.


Spend 5 minutes before you go to sleep with your eyes shut, taking some deep breaths and tuning into your senses. No judgement, nothing to fix, just noticing what’s going on. Let the thoughts come and let them go. It’s only 5 minutes.


If that feels like it’s too difficult, pick one of these (or your own place) instead:


✨ Spend 5 minutes sitting outside at lunch time doing the same.


✨  Spend 5 minutes in bed in the morning doing the same.


✨  Spend 5 minutes in the shower doing the same.


✨  Spend 5 minutes in your office doing the same.


✨  Spend 5 minutes in your car doing the same (I feel like I need to specify not to do this while you’re driving!).


✨  Spend 5 minutes in the bathroom doing the same.


✨  Spend 5 minutes on the bus doing the same.


You have 5 minutes in your day to do this. I know you do. It won’t solve all your problems or suddenly make all the shit you have to do go away; it will just give you space to find a different way.


Find some ways to have some fun too. It was suggested to me a few years ago to think about what I would have wanted to do as an 8-year-old.


I started off fairly conservatively with some Lego and soon realised that this would cost me a fortune if I kept doing it! I moved onto singing at the top of my voice and dancing around in the kitchen.


Roller skating was one of my favourites though. It took a lot of courage to go (despite ringing and asking for the best time an inexperienced adult could go) and it ended up with a load of really good children and me clinging onto the wall. It was so much fun though, and I was so proud of myself!


Last year I pushed my boundaries a little more and wanting to find somewhere with some grass that I could sit and write in, I found a field near my house and ended up dancing in it a few times. And let me tell you, that this is exhilarating and very, very inspiring.

Why not try one of these:


🌟 Watching or listening to something that makes you laugh.


🌟 Catching up with someone who makes you laugh.


🌟 Watching live music.


🌟 Playing with toys (Lego is not just for children!).


🌟 Singing at the top of your voice.


🌟 Dancing round the house or garden (or someone else’s).


I feel like I should let you know that I didn’t come to these things easily. I haven’t roller skated since I was probably about 10. I’ve never danced in a field. Ever. I’m not a dancer, I’m not a fit, healthy, gym-bunny. I just want to enjoy my life 🥳😍



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