It started slowly. I started getting sick to my stomach prior to plane trips. And then I was nauseous on road trips. The triggers were random and illogical given my lifelong love of travel. It took me a while to notice and connect the dots given my travel time was no less than months in between trips. When additional triggers started, I decided I should see a doctor (after my mom told me to).
I had good blood pressure, my pulse was also normal, and the blood panel results showed a solid row of normal. She asked about my lifestyle.
“I am a single mom to very active 12 and 10 year old girls and I share joint custody with their dad, I run my own law firm that recently grew from 10 to 15 employees, I just completed the renovation of a 100 year old building and moved into my dream home. It’s really busy, but life is good!” I exclaimed. “Great!” I added when she did not seem impressed.
“Do you ever rest?” she inquired.
“Rest? Like nap? I take 20 minute naps occasionally.”
“No. I mean rest. Do you slow down and clear your thoughts? Do you ever not think?”
I was genuinely perplexed. What did she mean by not thinking?? “Uh no. I am thinking all of the time. My brain never stops thinking. I am a normal woman that way. I do not know any women that aren’t always multi-tasking.” I started feeling myself getting defensive. I was smart enough not to disclose that my idea of resting on the weekend was watching a movie while simultaneously doing my budget, filing papers, and sorting through stacks of mail.
She told me I should learn how to rest. To actively engage in activities that allowed my brain to stop being so busy. Yoga, puzzles, reading, sewing, or gardening. What? Who has time for that? I sucked in those thoughts before I uttered them and received an even more disapproving look.
I went to my coach and sighed while telling her I did not know what this meant. After an hour, I was enlightened and equipped with a new way of thinking. Resting is not doing nothing. Resting is resting. Resting is good for my health. I needed to get over my harmful habit of doing something productive all of the time.
In the months since I have been actively resting, I have made more felt crafts than I can count, I have put together puzzles, I have taken restorative yoga classes, I joined a book club to ensure more reading, and I bought a super comfy sweatshirt to trigger rest and relaxation when I put it on. (The doctor did not prescribe that I fix my over-achieving tendencies…). Without a doubt resting has improved my wellness.
I learned that I had to to-do it just like everything else on my list. I wish I had known how to do this during my divorce. I wish I had learned what self-care really meant. Had I intentionally been slowing down my pace, or had I been getting out of my brain and my endless worrisome to-dos maybe my suffering would have been less during divorce. Perhaps I would have been gentler with myself on the hardest leg of my life journey to date.
How are you doing at resting? What does resting look like for you? During your divorce are you giving your busy brain a break? I encourage you to assess where you can let more rest into your life during this difficult time. Because resting isn’t doing nothing. Resting is slowing your pace to move you forward.