I had major surgery at the beginning of September and my recovery has taken longer than expected. One of the most interesting things about my recovery is noticing how much I resist resting. I know my body needs the rest to heal. Yet, multiple times I found myself actively fighting my body’s desire to rest.
Every time, the thought behind the resistance was a belief that I had to earn the right to rest. I kept thinking, “I haven’t done enough yet. I shouldn’t be tired.” Never mind that my body was expending a lot of energy to heal itself, I felt like I could not rest because I wasn’t physically doing anything.
The funny thing is I always feel better when I rest versus pushing through and ignoring my body. Seems my body knows what’s best after all 😊.
Hustle and Grind
I started to get curious about this resistance in me to allowing rest. I saw where the sense of urgency, and the idea that doing is better than being, comes from societal programming. We are conditioned into wearing ourselves down to the point of exhaustion.
This hustle and grind mindset, which says things like “I’ll rest when I’m dead”, is literally killing us. Stress and anxiety are at an all-time high. Strokes and heart attacks can be traced to working too much and not resting enough.
Rest as Resistance
The Nap Ministry is an organization dedicated to reclaiming rest as the norm. It was from them I first heard the idea of rest as a form of resistance. It’s an act of rebellion against a culture that teaches us we have to hustle for our worth.
Rest is critical. Without resting – and this goes beyond sleeping at night – we lose access to our creativity. We forget our inherent worth and buy into the idea that over-working makes us more valuable.
Resting grounds us. It reminds of who we truly are and centers us back to the wisdom that lives inside of us.
We have accepted exhaustion as normal but that is not our natural state. Rest as resistance allows us to deprogram ourselves from seeing exhaustion as the norm to embracing rest as normal.
The Many Faces of Rest
When I talk about rest, I don’t simply mean getting enough sleep at night though that is important. Rest can take on many forms. It can look like:
- Closing your eyes for 10 minutes
- Meditating for 20 minutes
- A long hot shower in silence
- A nightly bath ritual
- A 20-minute timed nap
- Taking regular breaks from social media
- Knitting, crocheting, or other creative expressions
Rest Rejuvenates, Energizes and STrengthens us (see what I did there 😊). However, embracing rest as a norm will require intentionality. This hustling mindset is so deeply programmed into our culture, it may take you a while to be comfortable with rest.
This is a practice. You will have to keep reminding yourself it’s okay to rest and then keep choosing it as your new normal.
Some people may judge you as being lazy. Remember that someone’s judgment of you says more about them than it says anything about you. They are entitled to their opinion AND what they think about you is not your concern. Your concern is honoring what your soul needs. Unapologetically giving your body what it needs so you can thrive not simply survive.
As with everything I share, begin with baby steps. What is one small thing you can do to move towards embracing rest? Look at the list above, pick something that could work for you, and begin the practice of rest.
I’ll be here rooting you on, while also engaging my personal practice of rest. May we both see rest as resistance and use it to rise into our greatness.
From my heart to yours,