I think at this point if each of us had a dollar every time someone told us to rest and listen to our bodies, well, we’d probably be very wealthy, if not financially secure. It’s important to look at going beyond those suggestions, because I think most of us know we need to listen to our bodies and rest. The problem is, a lot of times our system (socio-economic) demands that we keep going. If you’re dealing with income or housing instability, a chronic illness, neurodivergence, a rough patch in life, or a combination of these things, then not only is it more important than ever that you get to rest–it’s also very likely you have even more barriers than the average, financially and housing secure, neurotypical able-bodied individual. Now, that doesn’t mean that they don’t get to rest; they do. We all get to rest. It just means there’s a good chance they have more supports in place and are able to do so with more ease than someone without those things.
As a neurodivergent individual with fibromyalgia the need for rest used to come more often than I liked. I had to go-go-go. After all, I was taking care of my mom, working full time, writing, and going to visit relatives and take care of them too quite often. These days, mom has passed. I’m too far away to visit the relatives every month, and well, I’m realizing that it is okay to let some things slide. Small steps and taking care of myself is the way. But it was a long road to get here and to come to my body with the understanding and self-love that I am worthy of rest.
You are worthy of rest.
What changed for me? I started really listening to my body. If it told me it needed rest or I was tired, I didn’t brush it off. I didn’t “yeah, but….” like I was a petulant teenager talking back to a parental figure. I listened. And then I followed the advice.
What rest means for me differs depending on what I need. Sometimes it’s getting up from my desk and going out to the pasture to spend time with the horses. Other times, it’s laying down with the kitties and all of us snoozing and snuggling together, often without the television or any music playing. It might mean shifting position, moving from the desk and chair to the bed, or just putting my feet up on my foot stool (It was grandma’s, so I always smile and think of her with love when I do.) On a day like today, it meanas taking it easy and not push-push-pushing to get the to do list done. Slow and steady wins the race. I’m happy to be a tortoise. They’re one of my favorite animals.
It doesn’t matter what rest is for you. It matters that you figure out what rest means to your body in that moment.
Taking time to rest is a powerful statement of self-love and appreciation. Learning to make rest work for you is a skill that can last a long time. And when you’re rested and you care for yourself, you begin to understand better the cycles and flow of the universe.