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In praise of rest…

In praise of rest

Watching the clouds go by…

…and our tips on how to get some.

Are you getting enough rest? When you’ve done what you need to do, can you stop everything, do nothing and feel relaxed and content?  Do you find that you still feel guilty and tense with a list of ‘to dos’, ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ lurking in the back of your mind? Do you drive yourself hard until you give up, exhausted and dispirited?

We see many patients who could really do with a proper break. This is especially the case when they are suffering from some sort of painful condition and the body is just crying out for rest and recovery.  If you don’t listen to your body, it will only prolong the pain.  If this is you, here’s how to break free from the cycle of pain and guilt.

Our advice to those suffering from pain and exhaustion:

  • Recognise that you’re in pain and in need of rest. Typical signs to look out for are that your performance at work is deteriorating, despite you trying harder, you’re not sleeping well, your appetite has changed and you’re becoming snappy and irritable.
  • Approach this realisation with kindness. It may be your instinct to talk harshly to yourself when your perceive you’re failing in some way, but instead, stop a moment and cultivate a little gentleness to yourself and your body. Listen with a quiet mind to what your body is telling you. Filling your head with judgement or fearful speculation will mean you’re not able to tune in to your body’s signals. You could start by imagining how you might listen, gently and without judgement, to a distressed child. You might not like what your body is telling you at first, but stay with it and breathe into the pain or unpleasant feelings. Reconnecting with your body will ultimately allow you to gain insight into what is triggering your stress and what you need to rest from.

So, if you’re tired and in pain, break the habit of talking to yourself harshly, take your foot of the accelerator and become aware of what your body is telling you. You might learn, for instance, that you need time away from what is causing your shoulders to tense up. Maybe you need a break from the computer, and a walk around the block is what’s required. Or maybe you’re physically exhausted and just need to put your feet up for a while. That way your body’s stress hormone levels will decrease and allow you to recover and rebuild.

Slow down and start listening to your body today.

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