On Rest and Recovery

Does all that has to get done today have to get done today?

restIn this multitasking age of do more, see more, be more, live in the moment and seize the day there is a lot of pressure to DO and just keep doing. Yes, we need to live a focused life; however, we need to regularly stop, or we’ll be stopped by sickness when the body doesn’t recover from the day’s stress. Did you know the brain also functions better when it has regular sleep?

For a while, I would have paid for good sleep if that were an option, but I don’t take sleeping pills since they leave me feeling groggy for hours. Night after night, I tossed and turned, becoming more anxious as I wondered how I’d get everything done the next day. When my rheumatologist wrote down:

Patient needs 45 minutes of rest a day in or on bed,

I felt like I hit the lottery because not only was I told I had to slow down, but now I had permission (in writing)! And that shifted my thinking in a big way because I had a mandatory rest time (like in first grade but without my Strawberry Shortcake pillow), and it made a difference.  Suddenly, it was more about what I chose NOT to do than what I did. This is a choice I have to make every day, and it does not come easy. Even now, Brian will ask me when I am going to stop the busy-ness when I’ve worked all day and then continued working at home in the evenings.

If sleep and rest are problematic for you, here are some ideas others have shared with me that have helped me. Every body is different, so maybe you will find one or several that work for you.

  • communicate your needs to those around you when you need rest and ask them help you stay on track
  • cancel social plans if it feels like staying out is too much for you (but don’t forget to arrange to spend time together another day)
  • massage organic sesame oil on bottoms of feet right before bed
  • try Natural Calm, a magnesium supplement also called “the anti-stress drink”
  • take a 20 minute bath with epsom salts and (optional) essential oils like lavendar (epsom salts/ magnesium is also helpful for painful joints)
  • drink warm milk with cinnamon or cardamom
  • 30 minutes before bed, turn off all screens – the light from TV, phone and other electronics keeps your mind wired
  • get in bed and read for 30 minutes
  • listen to quiet music
  • even if you are stressed, worried or angry, try starting a mental or written gratitude list
  • pray – When the lights are turned off and it’s quiet, it’s hard not to focus on all that’s not right in our life or the world. I love this verse–“Come to me, all you who are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

What can you choose NOT to do today? Give yourself permission to listen to your body and do what you need for yourself. If that doesn’t work, here’s your permission–>get some rest in or on bed. 🙂