We need to rest. We are commanded to rest. We neglect rest.
Rest is not just getting 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Rest is taking time away from our normal routines, setting aside a significant amount of time and space to regroup for the coming challenges, to recover from past battles.
I am reminded recently, in great detail, of how much we need to rest. When we have experienced physical trauma, the doctors tell us to take it easy, lighten the load and rest as much as needed. Except, when we have experienced emotional trauma this message gets lost somehow. Somehow the message becomes “do more, distract yourself”. The truth is we need to rest. To take a break. Becoming distracted will only help to delay the inevitable. You must deal with the trauma. Doing more will only exhaust you more, and you’ll end up crashing and needing more rest to recover. Doing more may end up causing you a physical illness on top of the trauma.
I’m recovering from surgery. I’m not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds and can’t drive for 3 weeks. I’m told to take 6 weeks off — except my biggest job is parent and that isn’t going to happen. I just have to change how I parent and my children are doing amazing at stepping up and helping out where I can’t.
It’s easier to say I have to rest after surgery. People will accept that. There’s no judgment. I just had major surgery, most people are after me to do less.
After I left the abusive relationship, however, the opposite was true. People expected me to do more, better. There was a lot of judgment about what they expected I should be capable of. I really wasn’t capable of more, I was giving all I had to stay afloat and … failing. I am fabulous at hiding my pain, physical and emotional. I can put on a mask that hides from almost everyone that I’m not doing well. I’m learning to take off the mask, but it’s hard. It’s natural, like second nature to me. I show my pain when no one is looking and the more it hurts, the quieter I am. That’s not good physically or emotionally. It’s unhealthy to hide your pain from those who can help you.
The recovery time is different for everybody. Sometimes there are complications. Pay attention to what you need. Take care of yourself. Reach out for help when you need it! Life isn’t a journey that should be taken alone. We need other people to help us through and we need to help other people too.
It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to need help.