I really want to talk to you today about listening to your body when it tells you to SLOW DOWN.
Life is such a mad rush all the time and we’ve been programmed to feel like we have to keep up, but it is such an unsustainable ideal. Our bodies, minds and souls can’t commit to endless activity and energy spending, and if you’re anything like me, your body will hum a gentle reminder that slowly turns into a roar, demanding REST.
I don’t want r e s t to be a dirty word anymore. I don’t want it to be associated with laziness – weakness – judgement. Our bodies are beautiful machines designed to keep us functioning optimally, and the moment we disrespect that our bodies, they feel like they’re failing us. But what they are really doing is trying to save us and get us back in line with the gentle peaceful lives we are supposed to live.
Lives full of joy, pleasure, movement, exploration and ease.
Not lives full of rush, stress, illness and exhaustion.
I know all about this as it’s a recurring theme in my life. It stems from a few things:
- An unhealthy need to please others.
- The inability to confidently say no.
- Comparison leading to unfair expectations for yourself.
- Trying to keep up with people who operate on different energy levels than you do.
I’ve had to accept a few things:
- I need more sleep than the average bear (10 hours is better than 8!)
- My body thrives on low-intensity physical activity and can’t sustain an intense gym practice.
- NO is a complete sentence. It should not be followed up by an apology, explanation or excuse.
- Putting trust in my man to go out to a party without me when I need to rest. And then actually resting, not worrying about what I may be missing out on.
I want you to give yourself permission to L E T G O of the need to keep up.
This need can stem from many things, from people pleasing to biting off more than you can chew on a project, but the results are always the same. We get stressed, the immune system takes a beating and we crash. Some of us end up missing work, cancelling on friends, spending days on the sofa binge-watching Netflix… ok that might just be me BUT! I digress – when you feel your body slowing down, fatigue setting in, tension wrapping around:
LISTEN. STOP. BE GENTLE. REST.
Turn inward and listen to your body. What does it need right now?
- A nap?
- Lounging on the couch reading a book?
- A gentle walk outside or a restorative yoga class instead of an intense gym session?
- Skipping the dinner party for a quiet night in?
- It is OK to say no when someone asks you to do something that you don’t have the time or energy for.
- It is OK to reschedule on a friend – just be HONEST about how you’re feeling. If they’re a good friend they will understand. (Note: this is not to say it is OK to flake out consistently on friends/family – that can damage relationships. More on that to come in another post!)
- It is OK to pass on a night out. Do not fear what you may be missing out on, because listening to your body and honoring its needs is exactly where you need to be in the Universe in that moment. The Universe won’t conspire against you; it wants you where you need to be!
- It is OK to ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed or run down! It is not a weakness and can be the best thing for you.
Make a space in your home that is just for you to escape to. Somewhere uncluttered, cozy and welcoming. This can be your retreat to read a book, do some yoga, cuddle with family, watch a movie, whatever your body needs it to be in that moment. Just make sure it is peaceful.
A simple example from my life – I signed up for a kick boxing class with my friend and promptly picked up a flu bug that kept me feeling weak and exhausted off and on for weeks. I pushed myself too hard in our first class and crashed hard, and instead of nursing myself back to full strength I tried to keep doing more exercise at home, and it sent me spiralling downward and put me on bed-rest for a few days.
Because I was too stubborn to slow down I let down my co-workers and boss by missing work, and I let down my fiancé and our dogs by not being at my best for them.
I wasn’t listening to my body’s demand for rest and giving it the honour and respect it needs. And the silly thing is that I was wrought with guilt for telling my friend I couldn’t make it to the class with her again, but you know what? She fully supported me going home to rest! She is a good friend and she wants me to be healthy, so the guilt was all for nothing. Needless stress = wasted energy!
Listen to your body – it’s your divine compass!
Are you struggling with needing to slow down but feeling scared/guilty/weak about letting your body rest? Let us know what you’re struggling with, we’d love to hear!