If you are new here, I’d love to introduce you to Dee Williams. Those in the Still I Run community that know Dee know they are undeniably genuine. In a world where so much can drain your batteries, Dee is like the sun. Dee discovered Still I Run while looking for nonprofits to support during the Richmond Marathon, became an ambassador and has seen the organization grow immensely since 2019. I had the pleasure of catching up with Dee for a decidedly unscripted conversation about how seasons are nature’s gentle reminder that it is ok to rest.
Taking Notes from Nature:
Dee came about this reminder through their recent diagnosis of both autism and ADHD and how those, coupled with being a social worker and PhD student, contribute to chronic burnout. In much of Dee’s recent research on burnout associated with their diagnoses, a common theme of nature seemed to emerge. Specifically, Dee noted the way leaves on trees change and fall to allow trees to rest while animals hibernate through the long winter season. When asked how seasons resonated with them, they reflected on how the seasons (particularly those with cold winters) are nature’s reminder to us that it is not just ok, but necessary, to rest.
Learning to Let Go:
Through Dee’s exploration of rest, they reflected on the intersection of ADHD and autism placing them in the middle of a “go-go-go” and a “solitude and do nothing” mindset. Through introspection and work in therapy, Dee was able to lean in to rest by learning how to let go. By reflecting upon the “have tos” and the “sparks joys”, they began identifying things to let go of or say no to. In doing so, Dee found the capacity to prioritize and even plan times for rest.
Easier said than done, amiright? As one might expect, a passionate and driven individual such as Dee has not come to enjoy rest without overcoming the societal expectation to produce and the self-deprecating thoughts often brought about when taking time to slow down in a world that often defines burnout as a necessary byproduct of success. Compounded with feelings of guilt or grief when letting go or saying no, Dee reflects on the process as difficult and ongoing, but rewarding. Dee effortlessly summarized the process of letting go and boundary setting in the pursuit of rest as a practice of recognizing that we cannot control how someone might feel about our boundaries, but we can still be kind and empathetic in the process.
Change, like the seasons, can feel hard. Saying no and letting go to better serve ourselves in order to better serve others can be wrought with doubt, self-judgment, and self-deprecation. Dee hopes that through this, we can all remember to be kind with our words; both to others and to ourselves. To show the same level of compassion inward that we show outward. Seek rest, seek restoration, and seek kindness.