Rest is a requirement. So why do I feel so bad when I give it to myself??
I had a chat with a spiritual teacher tonight and asked her if she ever felt guilty when she took a rest day. She thought I was crazy. She said, my body needs rest and rest is a requirement. Why would I feel guilty about taking care of my body’s requirements?
It was a shocking thing to hear.
When I think about it logically, of course, that makes sense. The body needs water, it needs food, and many other things to operate and function according to the numerous demands I place upon it. I do not feel guilty about needing to drink water when I am thirsty. If a diabetic needs to take insulin to maintain their blood sugar, do they feel guilty? NO! that’s crazy! Why would they feel guilty for taking care of what they need to fuel and take care of the organism that carries them around the planet? That literally sounds insane to me as I type those very words.
So why then do I feel guilty when I need to rest when I am tired?
I suspect it is a many layered cake. One layer is that my self-worth is wrapped up in achievement, performance, and accomplishments- when I am resting, I am not doing… therefore I am an unworthy, valueless piece of pig shit. Now that might seem a bit extreme, but you don’t know the wicked she-devil mean voice in my head… it’s no exaggeration, I promise!
Next layer – our cultural messaging. Getting things done is where it’s at.
Next layer – early childhood programming. Like a client of mine that I worked with once. She is in her mid fifties, and shared with me that she still hears her mother’s voice in her head that says “and what do you have to show for yourself today?” in a very judgmental, condescending, harsh tone… and it drives her endless to do lists that keep her running all day long… as well as her chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia pain…. So that she can have something to ‘show for herself’ today.
Do you suffer from relaxation induced anxiety? Do you have a nasty Judge Judy voice in your head that beats you up when you rest or practice some form of self care?
If rest were to you as insulin is to a diabetic, would your relationship with it change? I hope so… because it is. My prayer, hope and intention is for all of us to take head to these (potentially shocking) words: REST IS A REQUIREMENT. Especially during the busyness of the holiday season.
What can you do to listen to your body today and give it what it needs? And if it needs some rest, what action steps can you take to make that happen for yourself?
A pit stop is a very helpful strategy I teach my patients and clients. Take a 5-10 minute rest break: get into a comfortable lying position with your legs elevated. Listen to some calming music and focus on your breathing. You’d be surprised how much better your body feels after a short pit stop.
Don’t have 5-10 minutes? It’s ok – a 20 second hug or an 18 second smile is enough to release a hit of serotonin in your bloodstream. Try it now. No, really – please do it. It’s probably the best gift you can give to yourself and others this holiday season. Are you still smiling? It’s probably 18 seconds by the time you read to this point in the article! It really does not take long. And a content, calm person is by far one of the best gifts we can give to the world, ourselves, and our bodies.