Rest and nurture

Getting enough rest and finding ways of nurturing myself are very particular challenges, I find.

Resting is tricky for me because it can easily trigger my judgemental parts that think they need to constantly compare me to others. Needing a lot of rest then somehow ends up being the same as being lazy and then a vicious circle starts. Because  I cannot get any proper, peaceful rest when parts of me are hammering away on my sense of self and self-worth. It has taken years of training to allow myself to rest; I have had to learn to calm down my anxious and ambitious parts, reassure my insecure parts and set some boundaries with my inner critic.

And I do need more rest than most of my friends. I need more sleep, I need a lot of time on my own during the day and my body needs stillness and times with minimal sensory stimulation. Often when I sleep I do not feel like I get any rest because my head and body are so busy processing and I have an intense and productive dreamtime at night. If I do not finish dreaming at night (if I have to get up early or my sleep is otherwise interrupted) at affects my mood and my energy levels. Sometimes my dreams have been so tiring that I need to rest for an hour, just lying still and quiet in bed before starting the day. Signs that I need to rest more are often that I wake up in a very low mood or that my head gets cotton-woolly (a kind of fog where I struggle to remember things and can’t think clear purposeful thoughts)

Nurturing myself present different kinds of challenges than getting enough rest. I hope I can get back to this later but for now here is a list of activities I find nurturing:

Cooking and eating simple healthy food

Walking in nature

Reading reflective and gentle books (like John O’Donohue or Saint-Exupery)

Listening to music

Gardening

Being with close friends

Getting a massage

Showering, bathing, swimming or just sitting near a stream or a fountain.

Getting hugs from someone I feel safe with

Writing my private diary

Watching certain films

Being with animals

Watching people – at a café or from a bench on the street

Hanging out alone at a peaceful, friendly café

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