In early April of this year, I started to recognize some internal mental pushback with respect to work. My brain didn’t want to function. I tried all my typical tricks – riding my bike, taking a nap, going for a walk – and nothing worked. This is when I realized that for the past eight months, I had been going nonstop with respect to my book launch, workshops, coaching and the Better Man Conference.
I had been coaching a number of my clients on the importance of rest and restoration, though ironically I continuously failed to apply my own counsel. Finally, my mind and body clued me in and I realized I needed to take time for myself. If I crash and burn, how can I show up as an ally and inclusionary leader?
If we want to be able to fully show up for others, it is imperative we make time for ourselves. As a white, cisgendered, heterosexual male with both earned and unearned privilege, I recognize that rest and restoration are more available and attainable to me than they might be to others. So as allies in training, part of our work is to ensure that under invested groups have access to the rest and restoration they need.
If you identify as a male, my invitation for you is to include rest and restoration as part of your journey to allyship. Don’t listen to the manbox voices that demand you do it all, that you are always “on.” Rewrite your own definition of what it means to be a man or to be an ally in training by recognizing your humanness and taking the time for self-care. This ultimately strengthens you to be an ally and inclusionary leader in support of others, giving you more energy to reach out to the marginalized and underinvested for whom rest and restoration seems unattainable, to ask what you can do to support them, and to then do it.
Written by Ray Arata, July 2022