I’m not much of a baker. I love to do it, and I have fun playing in the kitchen, but I’m not going to be up for any awards any time soon. 

However, I have learned one important lesson of baking over the years – the importance of letting your dough rest. As one of the baking blogs remarked on this, “Skip this step, and you’re actually making your job more difficult.” 

This step in baking allows the dough to become easier to work with. Without letting it rest – whether it’s cookies or bread or anything in between – chances are you’ll end up with dough that’s not as pliable or relaxed. 

Hmmm… reminding anyone of anything? Or anyone? (Hint: maybe take a quick peek in the mirror!) 

When I’m baking, I’m eager for ALL the tips. Let me read the blogs, research a few articles, check out some variations of the recipe, etc. I’ll watch baking shows and check out tutorials online to make sure I’ve got the best advice before venturing down the path of whatever I’m trying to make. (And don’t get this twisted – I don’t bake THAT often, so my desire for more info is what drives that type of pre-baking research!) But I recently realized that while I will do that for my once-in-a-blue-moon baking adventures, I tend not to do the same thing for myself. 

Or, at least, I don’t actually apply the tips to myself. Sure, I’ll read all the articles on self-care, and I’ll listen to podcasts on the importance of rest and slowing down. I’ve got paper books and audio books and YouTube videos galore on minimizing stress and taming anxiety. I know lots of tips – hell, I even TEACH this stuff and coach other people on it! Yet, when it comes to myself and my own practice, there is one recommendation I struggle with above all others: letting it rest. Faced with a problem, I want to dive in, focus on it, talk about it, examine it, figure it out, deal with it. And even when my body is tired, schedules are busy and overpacked, and I’m just not feeling it, I struggle to let myself rest. 

But it turns out that dealing with challenges and dealing with our own needs for self-care and replenishment and self-sustenance really isn’t all that different from baking. Letting it rest is one of the best ways I’ve encountered to allow situations to resolve in a more optimal manner and to ensure I’m actually feeling my best and taking care of me. When I let situations rest, I find that they often do become more pliable, more elastic. I give my brain a break (even a few minutes works!) and always discover new ways of dealing with the challenge or different ways to get clarity around what needs to happen next. When I let myself rest, holy smokes – as Aladdin and Jasmine said, “It’s a whole new world!” 

Seriously, friends, this seems like I’m oversimplifying it, but that’s because it really. is. that. simple. Try letting it rest next time you’re facing overwhelm or you’re up against a challenge. You’ll find a little more room to breathe and a lot more room to approach your situation with flexibility and adaptability. 

I’ve never regretted a rest yet!

- Nicole

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