At my last counselling appointment, I was complaining, yet again, that I was feeling exhausted. I was sleeping a lot, usually good sleep, eating healthier and for the most part doing some form of exercise on a semi-regular basis. I was doing all of the “healthy” recommendations that are always given to us and yet, I felt exhausted ALL the time. She looked at me and asked, “but are you getting enough rest?”
“Yes”, I replied. “I feel like I am sleeping all the time.”
“No,” she clarified, “actual rest?”
“What the hell do you mean?” I inquired.
“Well,” she began to explain, “there is more then one kind of rest….”
Physical Rest – This one I was familiar with, obviously, we almost all are. This is the rest that means your body is tired and you need some sleep. This involves napping, going to bed when you feel sleepy, and doing less physical tasks when you don’t have energy. Don’t feel up to doing the dishes? Use paper plates for a week. Don’t have the energy to fold the laundry? It will still be there tomorrow. This type of rest was about listening to my body and paying attention to what it needs. Simple enough I thought.
Mental Rest – This one was a bit more challenging for me. This involves taking a break from news, social media or other things that zap your energy. Stop making endless TO DO lists and then chastise yourself when you don’t complete all the tasks. Its okay to be idle sometimes. Pay attention to what you are absorbing. All those books I was reading on serial killers or documentaries on horrible events probably weren’t giving me any mental rest. Talking about my stress, or other people’s stress for that matter, was not helping me to mentally rest either. Okay, she may have a point on that one.
Emotional Rest – Damn. This one was another obvious one that I knew had room for improvement. Cry. Yell. Throw Things. Get mad. Get sad. Be disappointed. Feel your feels. If its ruminating through your mind, say it out loud and process it,. Gross. I hated the thoughts of that. Give myself the space to feel all of those things I have been stuffing for years? I don’t think so. Yet, even when she said it, I knew she was right and the first emotion that I felt was frustrated.
Spiritual Rest – This didn’t just mean religious or spirituality necessarily, although that could help as well. Rather it was about paying attention to your soul and what it might need. Stop with the expectations or pressure. Take time for reflection; for who you are, what you want or what your would like to have. Say NO when you need to. You are not obligated to do anything, even if your friends, family work or the calendar says you should. No is a full sentence. And most important of all, forgive yourself. Shit. Forgive myself. Not sure if I was ready for that one yet.
“So,” she states, smirking at me. “Are you getting enough rest?”
“Of course not.” I responded in annoyance. “Why do you always have to be right?” I added with a sigh.
And she was. She was right that I needed more rest. Holistic rest. She was right that I was not considering all aspects and although I am getting some rest, it is obviously not enough. She was right that although I had started the process of finding myself again, I still had a lot of steps to go. But she was also right when she said that was okay.
So, I am working on it. I am working on getting rest. All the types of rest. I am still tired. I am still needing improvement in some areas. But, I am trying. And for right now, that is enough.
So how about you? Are you getting enough rest?
“Rest is not idle, is not wasteful. Sometimes rest is the most productive thing you can do for body and soul.”– Erica Layne