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
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