The Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of rest is “freedom from activity or labor.”
Last week I had a friend tell me that he doesn’t know what is wrong with him. He said he simply feels exhausted and he doesn’t know why. He says that it’s gotten so bad that he plans to see his doctor to discuss medication options. I looked at him with a flat affect, confused by how he really had no idea why he is so tired. He gets up at 4 AM to start his day and doesn’t stop to rest until about 11PM. He has a high stress job that is demanding, a busy family to take care of and recreational commitments to tend to. He does practice self-care by eating healthy, exercising regularly and feeding his spriritual needs through his church community and music, but he does not take enough time for rest. Instead, he tries to fit all the activities into his week and the result is fatigue and exhaustion.
When we become exhausted and fatigued, we are much more sensitive to stress and we are more easily triggered by our environment. This means our “fight”, “flight” or “freeze” responses are triggered more often and our horomones become unbalanced more often.
I’ve learned that finding a true balance sometimes means we need to give some things up in order to make room for rest and recovery. If we do not make room for rest, then our self-care regimen can easily beome another stress, defeating the purpose of practicing self-care and further triggering stress.
Don’t let self-care become another stress. Take a moment to reflect on the activities you have scheduled in your life this week. Are you taking time to rest your body, mind and soul? If not, then perhaps you need to reassess your activities. What are you willing to let go of in order to get the rest your body, mind and spirit need to feel refreshed and renewed? Make taking time to rest a priority. If you do this, then you will find that the benefits outweigh the risks.
Peace and blessings,