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Allowing Rest to Restore

Of course, sometimes life can overwhelm even our best coping mechanisms and I can feel that familiar lack of energy creeping in.  And I fight back the best I can.  I see my doctor and take my medicine and exercise and try not to spend too much time in bed and maybe even drink more water and eat less sugar.  I push myself to keep moving even when I don’t want to.  I make myself talk to people.  I try to be kinder to myself and everyone around me. 

But every once in a blue moon, the stress gets the upper hand and nothing I do helps and after a while I don’t have the energy to sustain my self-care efforts.  This is a hard place for me to be in.  It’s the point at which any attempts to help myself will not refresh me but will sap the little bit of energy I have left.  I need to rest.  In truth I have needed to rest for a long time.  But rest hasn’t been much of an option, so I just keep pushing.  Until these last few weeks when my body and mind conspired to make me rest.  I am embarrassed at how much time I have been spending laying in bed or just sitting and thinking.  But I just could not get myself to move.  There were days when I paused going up the stairs, unsure if I was up to making it the rest of the way up. 

Of course, while it is socially acceptable to become a workaholic as a response to stress, becoming a lazy bum is not generally so well received.  So I kept fighting it.  And inevitably I would push myself until I could hardly move and struggle to recover.  Because to just stop and rest would be like quitting.  Or giving into inertia.  But every time I would beat myself up over not being very functional, my brain would scream “you’re sick.  You need to rest and recover.” 

Finally, after Christmas I started letting go of my fear of stopping and began to let myself rest.  Not the guilty, only doing this because I can’t move sort of rest I had been forced into for weeks.  Instead, I worked up the nerve to let go of my worries.   I have so much weighing on me right now that letting myself seek and feel some peace and relief from worry seemed almost irresponsible.  But I know that this is worry’s lie and that letting go will only help me in the long run.  So I gradually allowed myself more and more rest – physical and mental.  Yesterday, I lay down in my bed and thought, “thank you God for this wonderful bed I have to rest in.”  And I let myself rest.  The kids came in and hung out with me and I got up and attended to some things, but in between I just rested.  Really, I probably didn’t spend much more time than usual doing nothing.  But for once I really let myself rest without guilt or worry.  And finally this morning I was starting to feel almost normal.  My mind is finally quieting and that place of worry is not so tempting. 

I need rest.  I can’t do as much as I would like.  I have limits.  These are realities for all of us.  I always feel like I’m supposed to be an exception to these sorts of realities.  I can look at someone else and see that they need rest, but when the same is true of myself, I assume that I’m just lazy or incompetent.  I don’t think I’m supposed to have limits.  I think I’m supposed to do anything I can think of to do.  But what I think doesn’t change reality. 

So, I will embrace rest.  I will allow it to restore me.  Of course, I guess this means accepting that I will have to find some way to become a gazillionaire that doesn’t involve responding to stress by working myself to death.  Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

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#depression #life #rest #stress

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