Finding the motivation to rest

In December, we're told to rest but also to buy.

Finding the motivation to rest
Photo by Aleksandar Cvetanovic / Unsplash

📝 Notes from Jenn:

🛠 Current project: Can rest be counted as a project?

🔏 Last week, paid subscribers received a project update for November.

🍩 What I ate/drank/snacked on: I was the designated driver for a Napa wine-tasting trip and ended up buying four different non-alcoholic wines from V. Sattui. They use the same grapes for their wine, making them taste so much better than off-the-shelf grape juice.

Finding the motivation to rest

It’s that time of the year again when I experience contradicting feelings and resistance to anything different from the status quo. But I also want to stop the status quo because it exhausts me.

When December rolls around, I inevitably think, What the fuck happened to the year? What happened to those goals I made? If I spiral, it goes to, What’s the point of making goals if I can’t reach them?? And then January arrives, and I try to create reasonable goals for the upcoming year. This year, I kept my goals pinned on my to-do app and updated the progress often. I thought I was being reasonable, but I was still too ambitious.

This month, we’re told to rest and relax. But retail tells us, You only get this weekend to grab this deal, and you must make that decision NOW. That sense of urgency is a very effective marketing strategy but contradicts the rest. If you’re a freelancer, you’re chasing down invoices and late payments, hoping they’ll come through before the year ends. There’s pressure to finish off Q4 in a strong way—if only you could hold on just a little bit more and push from your reserves.

At this point of the year, a lot of us are exhausted. There’s been an entire year of making decisions and choices, on top of a world going haywire in many directions. How does one rest when you feel like there’s always something more you can do? How does one rest without feeling guilty?

On Saturday, it’ll be eight years since I started newsletter writing. It was an occasional Coffee Marketing issue on TinyLetter, and I didn’t stick to the biweekly cadence until ten months later. This whole time, I’ve been resistant to several things. I hate marketing myself, and there’s a fine line between “celebrate your wins” and “you’re being too promotional and egotistical.” This means that subscriber growth has been slow and organic. Engagement in terms of replies and comments has also been slow, though I’m coming to terms that perhaps the readership veers more into lurker and passive consumption territory than interaction.

My word this year was “leap,” and the year before, I wrote about listening to my gut. These items have been top of mind recently, and I know I’ll be carrying them into 2024. Paired with my feeling of being perpetually exhausted, I land on motivation. Or rather, lack of motivation. I am motivated to make coffee every morning because I don’t want the pounding caffeine headache. I was motivated to get a new computer because my seven-year-old one has been loudly running its fan, and every Lightroom edit preview takes several seconds to register a change.

But I’m not motivated to exercise or make a sweeping career change, even if I know both would be good for me. I’ve always had issues picturing the intangible; instead, I focus on whatever is impacting the present moment. I’ve been living in a reactive world when I should be in a proactive one. This isn’t the case for every area of my life, but it’s been recurring enough for me to notice.

I feel a deep sense (my body is yelling at me) to rest. My gut is telling me to rest. Will I actually rest? Check back in a month.

purple bracket, full-width, facing up

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