Rest is Part of Healing
Today I want to talk about a topic that has been near and dear to my heart recently: REST. Relaxation (or just being) does not come naturally to me, but recently I've been learning to appreciate the importance of integrating our experiences as a critical component of healing.
The truth is that it's impossible to be growing all the time. We don't have the energy for it and there is just too much happening in life! And really, how much are we taking from our deepest healing experiences if we are powering through to the next thing without taking in, appreciating, and processing everything we've just worked through?
Coming to terms with this hasn't been easy for me, but I recognize slowing down as a necessary part of my personal healing process. I see it with my clients all the time. For many of us, our particular brand of creativity, growth, or development is part of what defines us. Culturally, we pride ourselves on producing--so when we aren't producing or growing, we feel...unproductive.
On episode 6 of the Here to Heal podcast, Aurora Gantz talked about the concept of "composting" in healing--the idea that we take what we have learned and keep turning it over, allowing the lessons to integrate, and in that process (which really doesn't take much effort on our part), we are able to create something beautiful and fertile to take with us moving forward. Composting sets the scene for the next project, the next growth opportunity, the next phase of our healing.
So how do we shift our relationship with rest? How can we begin to value rest and "composting" as an important aspect of our healing journey? I have some resources for you:
The Nap Ministry (an amazing people of color lead organization that focuses on rest as resistance)
Rose Candela's blog posts and online course about creativity, art, and self-acceptance through the seasons of life
My personal tip? Practice not guilting yourself for resting. If rest comes easily to you, then you may not need to practice this (yay! Just enjoy your rest! You deserve it, regardless of what you've produced today!). But for those of us who see our worth deeply tied to productivity, I encourage you to ask yourself whether the guilt you experience motivates you to work harder or more, or stops your body and nervous system from needing rest. Sometimes we find that our nervous systems are so programmed to avoid rest that it's difficult to do it, even if we feel "justified" in taking a nap, slowing down, or just breathing a bit.
Start with a few breaths. Notice where you are in space. Pay attention to the beauty around you. Tune in to your body for just a moment. Do you need some water or to use the bathroom? Could you take a 3-minute walk that might shift your perspective? Start small and just notice--you might recognize that the small breaks (and big ones too) truly give you a different view of the world and a spark of creative magic that you weren't able to find when you were hustling for your worth.
Thank you for reading this today, and I hope you find a moment to rest and integrate all of the amazing healing work you are doing. It's a necessary part of the process.