The Importance of Rest

What if I lie down Right Now? What if I trust that giving myself permission to rest is part of my healing, part of my commitment to nurturing body and mind?

This week has been a very busy one for me. I’m already tired.

October is a full month with my daughter. There is a national holiday and at least 4 half days for teacher inservice and parent conferences. Halloween looms large and costume planning begins early. There’s  the sock hop, book fair and school carnival.

In my home, there’s another event in October that rises far above national holidays.   My daughter’s birthday.

Last Thursday, she turned 9. Yesterday marked the end of a week of festivities for my little extrovert, who loves big parties and plans events to the last detail.

Diva Party
Diva Party

October is quite an anniversary month for me. It holds memories of excited anticipation about her upcoming birth. I remember getting her little onesies ready, diapers arranged, and the changing table set up.

Because of what followed, it also holds the memory of having a painful lump in my breast that wouldn’t go away.

Two weeks before my scheduled due date, I went to see a doctor about the lump. After examining it, he recommended that I get an immediate biopsy. I was so surprised. I remember nodding that I understood this strange suggestion. Really?

“What exactly is a biopsy?” I asked myself a few minutes later in the car. How bizarre. What would be the need for that?

I was in my best health ever and preparing for a beautiful home birth.  I felt strong and full of faith in my body’s natural capacities and strength, as well as my faith in God. Things were working out exactly as they were supposed to.

I put aside the idea of a biopsy, and went to my appointment at the midwife’s office. I was planning to pick up an inflatable birthing tub so we would be ready.

After visiting a few minutes in her office and telling her of the suggested biopsy, I started labor, 2 weeks early, without getting the tub into the car!

In retrospect, I believe my body had a deeper wisdom.

Thanks to my body’s knowing, it was my daughter’s good fortune to be born in hope and joy, free of the parental fear that would soon envelop us.

In my Yoga and Talk® Groups and classes, I hear a common desire from cancer survivors to make every moment count, and to get back to “normal” as soon as possible.

But we need rest in order to heal. After surgery, chemo, radiation, ongoing medications, and adjusting to side effects, we need lots of sleep and self care.

Instead of treating tiredness and fatigue with caffeine and sugar, we must give ourselves permission to take a break.

These days I am listening for the answers to these questions:

What foods will be truly nurturing and energizing to my body?

How can I schedule my life so there is room for mistakes, forgetting, traffic, running late?

Can I schedule in some fun and play?

Can I arrange to be present for my kid when she’s sick or sad?

Can I give myself permission to lie down and rest? Even when I’m no longer ill?

Today, the answer is yes.

6 thoughts on “The Importance of Rest”

  1. What does it mean that after reading the title of your blog that I quickly exited and put it aside to read tonight?? It means I feel guilty because I know I’m neglecting myself – I’m not taking the time to rest, to be quiet, to heal. Funny thing is, I did, before. Before, I luxuriated in naps – eye pillow, music, drawn blinds, lavender scent on my temples and wrists. I was great at napping. Now, as you described from your group, I don’t have enough time! I might not have more time! I gotta move, gotta do it all! I often fall into bed too exhausted to relax. Later and later to sleep, and earlier and earlier to wake up. Okay, I’ll meditate on this – perhaps tonight, as I wait for sleep.
    ***that picture of your daughter is so beautiful it makes me cry. So did your story. Thank you for sharing that.

  2. Thanks so much Linda. I always love your spontaneous responses! Rest isn’t nearly as exciting as the life and death battle or trying to live each life to the fullest, is it? It’s so underrated, yet so crucial. Maybe for next week, I’ll do a body scan video for resting so that we can trick our minds into feeling we are DOING something:)) It’s something I’m training myself to appreciate because by nature, I’m always looking for the next “project!”

  3. Kelly – well my body took over this morning. I had alarm set early to get things done, everything in van ready for swim at the Y, then back home for house cleaners (thanks, mom-in-law!) and meeting patio repair dude. Slept through alarm, noisy dog greeting, husband walking dog and getting ready for work. Thanks, body! Gonna check in with it, today.
    Love the idea of body scan video. Sar nam? Linda

  4. Sat nam Linda-I so relate to the mind’s desire to override the body. I’m glad you were going to check in with your body today…see you tomorrow I hope. XOX

  5. Thank you for a great u-tube, I needed that. I was critical back in April 2017, and they did not expect me to leave the hospital alive, but God had other plans for me. I do have memory problems due to the chemo that I was given. I have peripheral neuropathy in both feet. I was told by a physical therapy doctor to keep my feet moving, but it still does not stop the pain and the feeling that I don’t have any longer in my feet. I have tried reflexology once and liked it and plan on going back. Do you have any suggestions? I also have the chemo brain. I was happy to learn what my short term memory loss was all about. I have much to be thankful for. God had other plans for my life and I plan on doing what He told me to do when I was finally moved to the seventh floor of Seaton Main. I was on life support for 10, days and in the hospital for 16 days. Thank you for any help that goes with my feet.

    • Thanks for sharing Anne. I’m glad the youtube are helpful. What an ordeal you went through. I’m so happy you are still with us! And the lingering side effects are real… It’s great that the reflexology helped. For massage with a warm sesame oil might be beneficial as well. For chemobrain, I find that using strategies for executive functioning are helpful. You might explore tips for people with ADHD because the executive functioning deficits have some things in common. A few of my youth videos use the mantra Kirtan Kriya which is good for cognitive function


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