Do You Embrace or Resist Rest?

January 18, 2018 5:59 pm

It continues to surprise me, how so many of us fiercely resist rest.

In society today, it’s as if  ‘being busy’ is seen as good and ‘doing nothing’ is bad. I’m not sure where this belief came from, but its definitely there.

Personally, even though I live with chronic illness I find myself so very often resisting rest. Or rather, resting… but not truly resting.

What I mean by that is, my body forces me to ‘rest’. I have to lay in bed or on the sofa when symptoms get too much, but often, there’s an underlying thought process of ‘I should be doing x y z’. Along with a belief that comes from somewhere deep in my subconscious mind along the lines of ‘it’s not okay to rest’. So when this busy mental activity is going on, my mind and body aren’t truly resting… not peacefully anyway.

Then, as soon as I can just about do something. I usually will. I never really give my body a chance to properly begin to build any reserves. As it’s probably clear to see, I’m sure this is a stumbling block to my healing.

This has been the case for me for as long as I remember. I have phases where I am able to let go, and give in to where my body is at, respect my body, listen to my body. Then as time goes on, I unknowingly slip back into old patterns and ways of being. This can include placing high expectations on myself, experiencing frustration, and also pushing and crashing.

I’m sure many of you will relate to this scenario.  So many of us who to succumb to illnesses such as ME/CFS have an Achiever Type personality. Meaning we push ourselves hard, struggle to slow down and rest, and ultimately in the end our body has to physically slow us down through symptoms. We place our value and self worth on what we can ‘do’.

It goes without saying, that for me, this is an area I am really working on. Learning about Self Compassion has really helped me, as has much self exploration in terms of therapy, reading, meditation … the list goes on! However, it is something I definitely still struggle with.




This week has been one of those weeks that feels like a bit of a wake up call for me, and an opportunity to gently get back in touch with my body again. Life of late has felt chaotic and it all came to a crescendo when I fell down the stairs and injured my foot. My foot actually somehow managed to make a hole in the wall on the stairs as I fell, I really fell down hard!

Once I fell, it was as if the experience shook me awake. I realised how ‘mindless’ I was being. I’d unknowingly become disconnected from my body again (often if we bump in to things or trip or fall, it’s when we aren’t ‘present’) and was doing too much, feeling really unwell, yet still trying to rush around (albeit just in the house) and thinking about a million things at once.

There are lessons in everything and there certainly has been in this.

The way my foot has made me slow down has made me take a real step back and become aware of what’s actually going on. It’s as if a torch has been shone on me, and I once again have the opportunity to realign.

Because I can’t bear weight on my foot and am having to sit with it elevated a lot of the time, its making me rest. How funny that we can live with a Chronic Illness for many years, yet still attempt to push ourselves, then we can get something such as a virus or a physical injury and somehow give ourselves permission to rest and recover more easily?!

I know that eventually I will master this, as will so many of you who I know are in the same boat as me! But it takes time, and self love, and patience. Relearning new ways of being.

Earlier on today, after my morning meditation, I took a mental step back. I asked my body what it needed. The answer was ‘Rest’.

Just rest.

So simple…

So this week, I’m aiming to enter a more peaceful state and see this as a turning point. A chance to realign as I said earlier on in the post. I’ll also aim to let go of the underlying guilt that so often comes with resting.

Rest is okay! It’s more than okay. It’s safe and it is to be encouraged whilst we heal. We need to begin to embrace rest rather than see it as a bad thing.


Emma x


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  • Fergus Elley says:

    Enjoyed it Emma thank you!! However the bit about your fall made me feel sorry for u! In some ways its gr8 that u have the drive inside your mind/spirit to want to achieve!! There is simply nothing wrong with that and yes in 91′ when I was finally diagnosed the specialist here in nz said it was an over achievers illness! I hope and pray Emma that u will fulfill many, many of your life goals and CFS does have a silver lining, as like any chronic/intermittant suffering it helps us be richer from the inside out!! I even thank God for it, well sometimes, ha ha….. Keep positive, u r still young and its still possible u might regain full or close to it health. Myself I think I am too far gone and yet I live a pretty productive fulfilling and enjoyable life on my lifestyle block, many people would be envious, its like retirement/semi retirement, only from 30!! Most of the time I just laugh to myself at the suffering! I think its because I am spiritually centred and by and large this world has no hold on me and heaven and the living hope of it is a much better place to keep ones heart than dwelling too much on the cares of this world. Enjoy your enforced rest, I’m sure it will be gr8 and no more falls ya hear!!

    • Emma says:

      Hi Fergus

      Thank you so much for your message. I am so sorry its taken me a while to respond, for some reason I didn’t see the messages that have been left on this post until this morning?!

      You are so right in that this is an over achievers illness. I think pretty much all of the people I know with it, are ambitious, driven people. Its almost as if this extreme fatigue/condition is the only thing that will slow us down!

      Your lifestyle block sounds fabulous! hehe. I very much relate to your spirituality keeping you in a place where you can actually cope with this level of suffering and the effects on your life. I too feel the same. All we can do is work with where we are at, what we have, and focus on the little things that we can enjoy and bring light into our lives, regardless of circumstance. The alternative is living a life of misery!

      Thanks so much for your continued support with the blog and my writing. Always lovely to hear from you.

      Emma 🙂

  • Zoe Power says:

    Beautiful post Emma – thanks so much for sharing. These could almost have been my words, I relate so much to what you are saying. This is my biggest struggle – my desire to do so many things and desperately want to be well again that I still push myself too much. I find it so hard to set low(er) expectations for myself. I know I still have lots more work to do on finding the right balance between doing and resting. It’s hard when “doing” brings so much joy… I so want to work on my blog and photography and my Etsy shop and there’s so much I want to learn – but the reality is that simply taking care of myself and my home and garden, and our dog is just about as much as I can handle. I’m trying to avoid taking on commitments and planning ahead and allowing myself to go with how I feel. It’s most definitely an ongoing process. So thank you for the reminder – I always hugely value your thoughtful posts xxx

    • Emma says:

      Hi Zoe

      Sorry for the delay in replying to your comment, for some reason I only just saw it was here?! Always appreciate you taking the time to reply and send messages. In the same way you related to this post, i too relate to your words! Like you, I have little projects I want to focus on, but by the time I have done the basics (and sometimes this means, just having a shower and cooking some food!) there is zero energy left for anything else.

      Sometimes the only option is to push a little, if we want to be able to socialise a bit or get a sense of achievement in some way. But generally, I think as part of our healing, allowing ourselves to unapologetically rest (truly rest) is so important.

      Sending lots of love to you as always,

      Em x

  • Katie Angelique says:

    Sorry I am behind with your posts Emma, I had to have surgery & a dreaded colonoscopy in past few months, so didn’t know you had hurt your foot. I have to catch up with latest posts but I hope it is better & everything else is okay. That must have been a shock. I often think of you & send you positive thoughts! I so much relate to this. It is the main reason I stay ill because I drain all I have built up. It is easy to rest when you feel ill isn’t it, but very hard when you feel ok. I try to remember without creating fear of doing stuff, that I only feel ok because I’ve been resting! It’s like the hardest thing I’ve ever done though lol. Big hug x

    • Emma says:

      Hi Katie,

      So lovely to hear from you! Im ever so sorry to hear you’ve had surgery and a colonoscopy. I really hope things are okay and you are recovering as well as is possible. It’s so hard when we get things on top of what we are already dealing with isn’t it? A lot has also happened for me this last few months, some of which I am yet to share on the blog so I truly relate.

      As for this very post on resting, I think as a society so many of us are swept away with this underling belief of ‘I need to achieve in order to be worthy/successful… ultimately ‘to be okay’… and when attempting to heal chronic illness it can be such a sticking point. As you said yourself, once we feel a teeny bit better the temptation is to drain any reserves we have built.

      Sending a big hug your way and really hope you can rest up and heal from your latest ordeals.

      Emma x

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