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The Difference Between Sleep and Rest and Why You Need Both

The Difference Between Sleep and Rest and Why You Need Both

I took a nap today and instantly felt guilty despite the fact that I told my husband I was going to GIVE myself permission to relax…you see, I’ve been traveling every weekend since the end of July and while that may sound exciting (and it is, trust me, I LOVE meeting readers), it’s still work.

The life of an author is extremely fun, constantly changing, but glamorous? It. Is. Not. Most of us try super hard to keep deadlines with not just our publishers but with our own personal projects that we want to release. Most readers dont know that we plan out our books two years in advance and that even that schedule is constantly changing and wrapping around travel.

Travel is necessary because, duh, we want to meet the people who are reading our words. It’s the most intimate part of what we do, seeing someone face to face and feeling like you KNOW them because they read a part of your soul. It truly is my favorite part.

But what we dont talk about are the delays at the airpot, the long hours at the signings where you take off your shoes and pray for french fries to just appear so you can eat, or the fact that even though you’re in a fun city you haven’t been outside in three whole days because you’re working—dont get me wrong again I love the work side but I think the misconception via social media is that when you’re jet setting all over the place, You are sightseeing at the same time and having the time of your life.

I literally buy presents for my toddler and husband at the airport. THAT is where I’m at right now. My little guy’s like get me a ball and I’m like errrr….I’ll try? I always have great intentions but a lot of times Im just trying to survive and make sure I get fed.

The reason a lot of authors have people around them, publicists, assistants, volunteers, is for that very reason FEED HER OR SHE WILL GET HANGRY lol and the last thing you want is to look grumpy or snap because your blood sugar just dropped.

Suffice to say I was thinking about this before my nap as my mind was going a million miles a minute, and yes as the guilt latched on to me. I should be writing, writing Is my job, and then I swear my soul did a “Shut the heck up” to my brain and was like “we won’t survive if you dont rest” because it’s bad enough that most of us put in ten to twelve hour days while still trying to mother, wife, and spend time with friends, whats even worse is when you’re working weekends because you’re so petrified that the inspiration will leave or that your readers will forget about you. And the crazy part? I LOVE MY JOB I seriously wake up going yes yes yes yes yes I get to write about vampires today or I get to do this. But at what point do you need to give yourself permission to just…rest.

My mom says there is a difference between resting and sleeping and I one hundred percent agree with her. Sleeping is what your body does at night in order to function or during a nap to catch up. Rest is for your mind not your body. It’s when you shut down your thoughts and just exist, it’s so important and something that a lot of us authors forget about. I’ll catch up on sleep then wonder why I’m so completely exhausted, it’s because sleep has also turned into a job so I dont burn out.

I dont need sleep, guys.

I need a good solid rest.

I need the positive self talk where I say “the world will not end if I take a day off.” or “I’m going to sit here and read and know it’s okay and that my computer will be there in the morning.”

Today I was trying to rest when I grabbed my phone and saw fifty emails that needed responses to, I started firing them off and then went what am I doing? Im literally laying on the couch ready to nap and now I’ve just turned my brain right back on and now i’m stressed and now I can’t rest! And then I see a text from a friend, lets hang out, or from family, when can we talk? And the guilt just suffocates me. Thankfully I have amazing friends and family who totally get my need to shut down and who respect the fact that my hours are insane and that if I have any extra to give.

It’s going to be to my husband and son.

And that is the point I want to make. Don’t let the lack of rest cause you to be a yes person when you really need to be the no person. Take time for yourself and know that when you DO feel better, it’s okay to only have enough to give to those who are closest to you. I may ignore a few texts, but thats okay because my son is watching and he’s been missing me for the last four days. I may not call my mom back right away but she gets it, she KNOWS that Im doing the best I can and bless her heart I know she’s praying for me in the meantime, praying for more energy.
As a society of women we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. I’d rather be the mom with unwashed hair in the pick up line, waving my cold brew around with a backwards t-shirt on. Then try to appear perfect but have a nervous breakdown at 34.

I am so blessed to have the job that I have. And Im so blessed to have the family that I have. They can co-exist, I just need to remember that rest and no aren’t evil, cruel words, they are words that give me what I want more of.

TIME to love on those around me.

Time to create.

And on some days, time to binge watch something that will take my brain away from things.

Give yourself permission.

And go rest.

About The Author

Rachel Van Dyken

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and, adorable son. She loves to hear from readers!

Book Release Dates

September 2021

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Releases Aug 17 2021