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Resisting Rest

Dr. Ellen Chance


Do you find yourself constantly on the go, pushing yourself to the limit, and neglecting your own needs for rest and rejuvenation? Do you feel guilty or ashamed for taking breaks or slowing down, as if it's a sign of weakness or laziness? If so, you're not alone. Many women struggle with the pressure to do it all, be it all, and never stop. We live in a culture that values productivity, efficiency, and success over self-care, leisure, and wellbeing. We glorify busy-ness and multitasking, as if they're badges of honor, and we stigmatize rest and relaxation, as if they're signs of incompetence or failure. But what if I told you that rest is not a luxury or a weakness, but a necessity for your health, happiness, and success? What if I told you that you don't need to wait until you're depleted or burnt out to give yourself permission to rest?


The truth is, rest is not a luxury or a reward; it's a basic human need, like food, water, and sleep. Without rest, your body and mind can't function at their best. Rest is essential for physical recovery, mental clarity, emotional balance, and spiritual growth. It's like a reset button that allows you to recharge your batteries, release tension, and restore your vitality. Rest doesn't mean doing nothing; it means doing something that nourishes your body and soul, whether it's a nap, a yoga class, a massage, a meditation, or a hobby. Rest is not a waste of time; it's an investment in yourself that pays off in the long run.


So, why do we resist rest? There are many reasons, but some common ones include:

  • Guilt or shame: We feel guilty or ashamed for taking time for ourselves, as if we're being selfish or neglectful. When resting have you ever thought, "I should be doing something right now"?

  • Perfectionism: We believe that we need to do everything perfectly, and that rest is a sign of weakness or imperfection.

  • Fear of missing out (FOMO): We worry that if we take a break, we'll miss out on opportunities, experiences, or connections.

  • Pressure to perform: We feel pressured to meet high expectations, whether they're set by ourselves, our peers, or our society.

  • Lack of boundaries: We struggle to set boundaries around our time, energy, and attention, and we allow others to dictate our schedule.

If any of these resonate with you, know that you're not alone, and that you can overcome them with practice and patience. Here are some tips for giving yourself permission to rest:

  • Recognize that rest is essential: One of the biggest obstacles to resting is the belief that we don't deserve it or that we should always be productive. However, rest is not a luxury; it's a basic human need. Without it, we become stressed, burnt out, and less effective in all areas of our lives.

  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to the signals your body sends you, such as fatigue, tension, pain, or hunger. Don't ignore them or push through them; honor them and respond to them with compassion and care. Treat your body as your ally, not your enemy.

  • Practice self-compassion: Giving ourselves permission to rest requires self-compassion. It means acknowledging that we are human and that we need rest, just like we need food, water, and sleep. When we feel guilty or anxious about taking time to rest, we can remind ourselves that it's okay and that we deserve to recharge.

  • Prioritize self-care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine, just like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. Schedule time for activities that nourish your body, mind, and soul, such as exercise, meditation, journaling, or reading. Don't wait until you're stressed or burnt out to take care of yourself.

  • Schedule rest time: Just like we schedule appointments, meetings, and work tasks, it's important to schedule time for rest. Whether it's a daily nap or a weekend getaway, putting rest on our calendar can help us prioritize it and make sure it happens.

  • Set boundaries: Often, we feel guilty about taking time to rest because we worry about what others will think or we fear falling behind in our work. Setting clear boundaries with others and ourselves can help us overcome these feelings. For example, we can turn off our phone during rest time, communicate our needs to our loved ones, and avoid checking work emails or taking on additional tasks during rest time.

  • Find restful activities that work for you: Rest doesn't always mean sleeping or doing nothing. It can also mean engaging in activities that bring us joy, peace, and relaxation. For example, some people find gardening, painting, or reading to be restful activities. Others might prefer yoga, meditation, or taking a bath. It's important to find what works for us and prioritize those activities in our rest tim

  • Practice mindfulness: Cultivate a mindful awareness of the present moment, without judgment or distraction. Notice your thoughts, emotions.

In today's fast-paced world, it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that rest is a luxury we can't afford. However, the truth is that rest is essential for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By learning to stop resisting rest, we can prioritize our health and happiness, and become more effective in all areas of our lives.


To give ourselves permission to rest, we need to recognize the importance of rest and schedule it into our lives. We also need to set boundaries, practice self-compassion, and find restful activities that work for us. These steps can help us overcome the guilt, anxiety, and resistance that often come with taking time to rest.


In the end, learning to stop resisting rest is not only good for us, but it's also good for the people around us. By taking care of ourselves, we can show up as our best selves in our work, relationships, and communities. So, let's give ourselves permission to rest, and reap the benefits that come with it.



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