Defeat. You know the feeling. You’ve been up since 5 am, it’s now 6 pm and you haven’t slowed down once all week. The cupboard is bare, offering nothing of sustenance for dinner (much less breakfast or lunch the next day). In spite of a packed parking lot, you reluctantly pull into the grocery store and search for a close spot. Settling on the best one you can find, you throw your car in park, your purse over your shoulder and with a deep breath, you will your tired feet to walk across the parking lot and through the automatically opening doors.

Does that sound familiar? Chances are good that’s not an atypical scenario in your week. 

We are tempted to believe that working ourselves to the bone, burning the midnight oil, and ignoring our body’s need for rest is a badge of honor. The busier we are, the more productive and successful we are, right? Wrong! The truth is that without rest and proper self-care, we are significantly less productive and less likely to be happy OR successful. May I speak for us all when I say no one’s goal is a tired, grouchy, unproductive existence? 

Why are we so prone to drive ourselves to exhaustion? And what does that have to do with self-defense? I’m glad you asked!

When we are feeling exhausted or defeated, it’s written all over our faces. Our body language leaves no question when we’re barely hanging on. Here’s where self-defense meets self-care.

According to multiple research studies (see this one from Psychology Today, for example), attackers don’t target victims based on gender, race, age, or size. Rather, they look for people who are distracted, tired, and defeated. A man or woman who has their head in the clouds or is exhausted and barely making it from one stride to the next is hands down an easy target. The look of defeat tells a potential attacker that choosing that victim will be the path of least resistance. 

Do you ever just stop? We push day in and day out without paying attention to our innate need for rest in our bodies, minds, and spirits. In her book, Sacred Rest, Saundra Dalton-Smith drives home the fact that rest doesn’t begin and end with physical rest. She explores seven types of rest that enable us to lead healthy, whole, thriving, productive lives.  

Here are a few of my favorite tips to get in some simple yet desperately needed self-care: 

Clear your mind. Give yourself permission to STOP! Stop thinking, stop doing, stop driving to the next thought, project, objective, or task. 

Fill your cup. Determine what fills your cup. A night with the girls, your favorite workout class, a quiet afternoon with a book and a cup of tea, a hot bath, or a date night may be on the list of things that grant restoration to your weary soul.

Find a spot. Have a go-to spot that’s just for you. A special room in your house, a secluded tree in a serene environment (this one’s MINE!), a quiet coffee shop, or a rocking chair on your own front porch. Designate a spot that makes you feel safe and that all is right in the world, and leave your work, thoughts, and worries behind to go there often.

Don’t inadvertently invite an attacker to choose YOU. Pay attention to your body’s need for rest and provide it with the self-care you need to THRIVE!